a small rock has been with him for months

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In February the Perseverance rover was roaming the surface of Mars and something happened. On one of his trips a small rock fell onto one of its wheels and she remained stuck there, like a singular stowaway. We already told how that unexpected passenger was discovered: the curious thing is that he is stubborn and still does not get off his particular means of transport.

That had happened in other missions and the rocks had accompanied other rovers for weeks, but this particular rock has been with Perseverance for months, and NASA has come to love it. so much that has achieved “pet rock” status.

A nice (and innocuous) stowaway

The Perseverance rover landed in Jezero Crater in February 2021, and has been exploring the martian surface with the invaluable help of the Ingenuity helicopter.

The objective was to find signs that there was some kind of life on the red planet, and the curious thing is that since February 2022 Perseverance has not been alone: a small rock ended up in one of its wheels and since then has not been separated from the vehicle.

One of the collaborators of the mission explained in a mission update how”if this rock could talkcould tell us the changes it has experienced as it traveled back north through the landing zone in the Octavia E. Butler region, and then west, past the spectacular remnants of the ancient ‘Kodiak’ delta.”

At NASA they clarify that the rock has not caused any damage to the wheel, and appears frequently on the Hazcam, the camera used to detect obstacles on the way. “We’ve seen these kinds of rocks get ‘caught’ by Curiosity’s wheels from time to time,” and the same thing happened 18 years ago with Spirit, whose right rear wheel also got caught by a potato-sized rock. .

What explained a NASA spokesmanthese events “occur during displacements through the slope, and the rocks they tend to fall off completely on their own after a while. There is no particular way to get this rock out of our ‘shoe’.”

In February the Perseverance rover was roaming the surface of Mars and something happened. On one of his trips a…

In February the Perseverance rover was roaming the surface of Mars and something happened. On one of his trips a…

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