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A NASA combination handout photograph shows the surface of Mars in front of the

Opportunity Rover Discovers Mystery Rock on Mars

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Opportunity Rover Discovers Mystery Rock on Mars
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

10 years after NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars for the first time, a mysterious rock, that looks like a white jelly doughnut, suddenly appears in its radar. (Jan. 24)

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Jan 21 (Reuters) - Scientists are stumped as to how a rock mysteriously appeared in images taken two weeks apart by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity.

On Jan. 8, while preparing to use its robotic arm for science investigation, Opportunity sent back a picture of its work area.

Oddly, it showed a bright white rock, about the size of a doughnut, where only barren bedrock had appeared in a picture taken two weeks earlier. Scientists suspect the rock was flipped over by one of the rover's wheels.

It also may have been deposited after a meteorite landed nearby.

Either way, the rock, dubbed "Pinnacle Island" is providing an unexpected science bonus.

"Much of the rock is bright-toned, nearly white," NASA said in a statement on Tuesday. "A portion is deep red in color. Pinnacle Island may have been flipped upside-down when a wheel dislodged it, providing an unusual circumstance for examining the underside of a Martian rock."

Watch the video above or click here.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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