Scientists baffled by sudden ‘mystery rock’ on Mars

The ‘Jelly doughnut’ rock as described by NASA scientist suddenly appears next to a Mars rover

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A “mystery” doughnut-shaped rock suddenly appeared in photos taken by a robotic rover on the planet Mars, perplexing scientists, The Huffington Post reported.

Recently spotted in photos taken by the Opportunity rover, the rock seemingly appeared out of thin air, since the object was missing in images captured nearly two weeks earlier.

The rover, which landed on Mars in 2004, hasn’t moved in over a month as it waits for better climate on the planet.

The unusual find was announced at a NASA event on Thursday, which was held to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Opportunity’s arrival on the red planet. According to NASA Mars Exploration Rover’s lead scientist Steve Squyres, the rock is white around the outside and has a middle lower dark red spot.

First reported by Discovery News, the mystery rock that turned up in front of the rolling rover a few days ago has been dubbed “Pinnacle Island.”

According to Discovery news, Squyres excitedly told the packed room that the rock looked like a “jelly doughnut” and that it “just plain appeared at the spot.”

Squyres and his colleagues came up with hypothetical theories to explain the rock’s sudden appearance. A likely scenario is that one of the rover’s wheels “flicked it” as it was driving about a meter from where the rock now sits.

The researchers plan to study the rock further to determine where it came from.

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