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Mars rock ends up in court

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The mysterious jelly doughnut rock


Recently, we never got around to covering this:

(CNN) — Did Mars rover Opportunity order a jelly doughnut?

Not quite, but scientists are baffled by a white rock with a dark red low spot in the middle that “just plain appeared at that spot” on the planet where the rover is situated, says Steve Squyres, lead scientist of the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

In recent weeks, Opportunity took photos of the same spot on Mars, 12 days apart. The rover’s panoramic camera showed only barren bedrock on mission day 3528 (in Mars time), but on day 3540, a photo of the same scene revealed the mysterious, doughnut-shaped rock. More.

It soon became a saw-off between “So? It got dislodged.” and “See, Seamus, I told you, they’re OUT There!”

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG And so now:

The saga of the jelly doughnut-shaped rock on Mars has taken a strange turn — to a federal court.

On Monday, Rhawn Joseph, who describes himself as a neuroscientist and astrobiologist, filed court papers demanding that NASA do more to investigate the mysterious rock.

“NASA’s rover team inexplicably failed to perform the basic demands of science, which is re-search, look again,” he wrote in a petition for a writ of mandamus filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco. “The refusal to release high resolution photos is inexplicable, recklessly negligent and bizarre.” More.

Maybe We Are Not Alone (or maybe we are), but one thing’s for sure: That guy isn’t. As noted earlier,

UFO seekers assailed the White House earlier that very year [2011], demanding disclosure of the United States’s government’s hidden aliens. On being informed that there aren’t any, they vowed to continue campaigning. A top Russian astronomer claims we may expect to encounter alien civilizations within twenty years. Why? Because “The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms.”

NASA continues to insist that it isn’t hiding stuff that would make it the world’s most important science agency just now, and swiftly reverse funding cutbacks.

Picture of the Planet Mars

See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!

“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …

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2 Replies to “Mars rock ends up in court

  1. 1
    ciphertext says:

    From the article:

    The rock is mysterious for a few reasons. It has a depressed, bright red center and a white exterior (hence the comparisons to a jelly doughnut). More important, scientists working with the Opportunity rover have acknowledged that its chemical composition is unlike anything else they have seen on Mars — lots of sulfur, manganese, and magnesium.

    Do you suppose that the rock was sampled and then analyzed by one of the rover’s on-board laboratory packages? How else would you determine the chemical composition of the rock?

  2. 2
    News says:

    It has yet to enter a plea. 😉

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