Smile Opportunity, You’ve Been Caught On Camera

Smile Opportunity, You’ve Been Caught On Camera

Opportunity as seen from HiRISE.jpg

That Jelly doughnut mystery just won’t go away. Recently, a rock named ‘Pinnacle Island’ appeared on one of Opportunity’s cameras when it hadn’t been there a few days earlier. The rock had the appearance of a Jelly Doughnut with a red centre and white outer rim. To see if there had been a recent meteorite impact near to Opportunity that might have caused the rock to appear, NASA sent the orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter overhead to take a look. There was no new crater but it did manage to picture the rover (red arrow) and it’s tracks (blue arrows). It turned out that the rock had been caused by Opportunity itself running over a larger rock and fracturing it. The piece that caused confusion had rolled down the hill to come into view of the camera.

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Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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