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Latino Daily News

Sunday February 16, 2014

NASA Solves “Jelly Donut” Mystery on Mars

NASA Solves “Jelly Donut” Mystery on Mars

Photo: "Jelly Donut" on Mars

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

NASA has solved the mystery of the strange rock found on Mars in late January that appeared to have come out of nowhere and was nicknamed the “jelly donut” for its odd resemblance to the popular treat.

What surprised scientists was not only its unusual appearance, but above all because they found no explanation of how it got there, since it was only seen in the second of two photos taken just two weeks apart of exactly the same place on the surface of the Red Planet by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

NASA put an end to the mystery Friday when it explained that the enigmatic “jelly donut” was no more than a piece that broke off a large boulder displaced by the wheels of the rover, a space robot that has been inspecting the surface of Mars in search of new discoveries about the planet since Aug. 6, 2012.

The curious rock was named “Pinnacle Island” by scientists and popularly nicknamed “jelly donut” because of its resemblance to the sweet pastry: it is only 4 centimeters (1 1/2 inches) in diameter and is white with a red center.

“Once we moved Opportunity a short distance, after inspecting Pinnacle Island, we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance. We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from,” a member of the project, Ray Arvidson from Washington University in St. Louis, said.

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