- NASA’s Perseverance Rover photographed a rock precariously balanced atop another boulder on Mars.
- This, and other photos by the Rover, have led to a heated debate about how it got there.
- The rock is located in an area of Mars known as “Hogwallow Flats.”
NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover has been very busy capturing several new images of the Red Planet.
Many of these images have been shared on social media with the Mars Rover’s Twitter account exclaiming, “Tons of potential targets for study. Paradise for rock nerds like myself.” (NASA likes to pretend that the Mars Rover can communicate like a person.)
The Rover has been tooling around a 750 mile wide area known as the Jezero Crater, taking photos and making some very interesting discoveries.
At one point, the Perseverance Rover even found some trash that was left behind – “a piece of a thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on landing day back in 2021.”
The piece of debris, according to the Rover’s social media account, somehow traveled around 1.2 miles from where it should have been located.
My team has spotted something unexpected: It’s a piece of a thermal blanket that they think may have come from my descent stage, the rocket-powered jet pack that set me down on landing day back in 2021. pic.twitter.com/O4rIaEABLu
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 15, 2022
That shiny bit of foil is part of a thermal blanket – a material used to control temperatures. It’s a surprise finding this here: My descent stage crashed about 2 km away. Did this piece land here after that, or was it blown here by the wind? pic.twitter.com/uVx3VdYfi8— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 15, 2022
Strange, to be sure, but not nearly as strange as another image that was captured by the Rover of a rock mysteriously, and precariously, balanced atop another, larger boulder.
The photo was taken in an area of Mars that NASA refers to has “Hogwallow Flats.” This region is believed to be home to rocks as old as 3.6 billion years.
Many on social media wondered how this rock on Mars ended up balanced on another boulder
How this rock ended up on top of another boulder was cause for much speculation on social media.
“What I find odd about the balancing rock is all the other rocks in the area or sharp edged and flat. How is that the only round rock?” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Looks like many different types of rock. Could an [have] explosion left [the] rock balanced on another rock? The bottom rock looks smooth while the upper rock does not,” another commented.
“Aliens are playing tricks on us… I tell you. Soon they will come for us, take shelter,” someone else joked.
Space and astronomy news site Universe Today speculated, “It’s very unlikely the rock was ‘dropped’ into its current location. More probable is that the rock was part of the original bedrock formation and over millennia, wind erosion wore it down to its present shape. Wind is a powerful agent of erosion, and we know Mars is a windy planet. On the Red Planet, we can witness its power over time, and even today. Called aeolian processes, wind erosion is a powerful agent, especially in desert areas on Earth that area very similar to Mars.”
Are you buying that explanation? Or are aliens just messing with us now?
Pic #3 - What is the process where one rock erodes so that it is round while sitting on top of another rock that erodes to being square?— Steve Tredup (@SteveTredup) June 17, 2022
I mean, how does that happen?
— Nels (@debitking) June 16, 2022
I’m literally looking at super high resolution pictures of rock formations on another planet.. what a time to be alive— Lionheart ✊🏻✊🏽✊🏿 (@Lionhevrt) June 16, 2022