Hitchhiking boulder traveled with the Perseverance Rover for over 120 days

Roaming Mars has been a lonely existence for NASA’s Perseverance, however the exploratory rover now has a touring companion: a hitchhiking “pet rock” that received caught in one among its wheels.

Fortunately, the Martian Stone will not impression the rover’s science mission and is simply a minor inconvenience, like getting a pebble caught in your shoe.

Perseverance’s left entrance wheel by chance picked up the companion stone on Feb. 4, or Sol 341 — the 341st Martian day of the Martian 12 months, based on a NASA assertion.

The rock periodically has photobombed photos taken by the rover’s left entrance hazard avoidance digital camera (Hazcam).

Latest footage exhibits the boulder persevering with to break down with Perseverance 126 days (123 sols) after hitchhiking for the primary time. (A sol, or Martian day, is simply 37 minutes longer than an Earth day.)

The Rock hitchhiked with Perseverance for simply over 1 / 4 of the rover’s mission to the Pink Planet. When the boulder first settled into the Wheel of Perseverance, the rover was exploring the Máaz Formation, a piece of Jezero Crater that researchers suspect to be made up of historic lava flows.

The rock on April 19, close to the remnant of the Kodiak Delta. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Since then, the rover has traveled 8.5 kilometers by means of the Octavia E. Butler touchdown web site, the place Perseverance first landed on Mars in February 2021, and previous the remnants of the Kodiak Delta, which linked as soon as an historic river and lake. .

The rover will quickly put together for an ascent of one among Jezero Crater’s steep slopes, which can dislodge its stony stowaway.

Associated: Perseverance Rover noticed from area in hanging new satellite tv for pc picture

When the companion stone lastly falls from the rover’s wheel, it would probably be surrounded by rocks very totally different from itself as it’s probably volcanic in origin.

“We would confuse a future Mars geologist who finds it misplaced,” a mission scientist joked at a latest assembly, based on the assertion.

Perseverance, or Percy, picked up a number of different small rocks in his proper entrance wheel throughout his mission, however these all fell out inside a couple of days or perhaps weeks.

This makes the most recent stony passenger a Martian hitchhiking document, based on the assertion.

However Percy is not the one Mars rover to select up a pet stone.

In December 2004, operators of NASA’s Spirit rover – which roamed Mars between January 2004 and March 2010 – needed to carry out a pointy flip maneuver to shake a “potato-sized” rock from its wheel rear proper as a result of scientists feared it could trigger important injury. injury, based on NASA.

Beforehand, choosing up undesirable rocks in different elements of the rover was a a lot greater drawback for Perseverance.

On December 29, a pile of small rocks fell into a part of the rover’s equipment, inflicting Percy to close down for almost every week. Mission scientists ultimately discovered a approach to take away the pebbles after forcing the rover to detach its drill arm to correctly {photograph} the affected space.

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This text was initially revealed by Stay Science. Learn the unique article right here.

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