By Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower
One fine day on Mars, Opportunity, a robotic mobile space probe from Planet Earth--from a nation called America--was taking images of the surrounding rocks, controlled as it was by geologists. So far, nothing seems unusual, since geologists like rocks and want to take pictures of them. However, it appears one of the rocks previously omitted seems to have wanted to get in on the photo. Hold on. This is going to shock you.
The geologists at JPL have called the rock Pinnacle Island, but it looks like a jelly donut and is about the same size. Opportunity, which has some analysis capability, determined it is a very unusual rock indeed; the center "jelly" is made of sulfur, magnesium, and manganese and a whole bunch of other things of that sort, reminding me of the manganese nodules at the bottom of the oceans of Planet Earth. Yet it is different from them also.
But what really got everyone going is how it got there, being that it clearly was NOT there 12 Martian days before. Geologists are used to rocks not moving around, and it surprises them when one does.
"It's about the size of a jelly doughnut," Exploration Team leader Steven Squyres said in a talk reported by Ian O'Neill of Discovery News. "It was a total surprise, we were like 'wait a second, that wasn't there before, it can't be right. Oh my God! It wasn't there before!' We were absolutely startled." He continued, "I don't know what any of this means. We're completely confused, everybody on the team is arguing and fighting. We're having a wonderful time!"
More with possible explanations:
Link >>> http://buhlplanetarium2.tripod.com/weblog/spacewatchtower/fgg/THE_ROCK_THAT_WALKED_IN_Revised.pdf
Source: Francis G. Graham, Professor Emeritus of Physics, Kent State University; former Planetarium Lecturer & Observatory Observer, Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science; Steering Commitee Member, Friends of the Zeiss;
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.
2014: 75th Year of Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium
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