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Scientists solve mystery behind 'jelly doughnut' Martian rock

This image from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the location of a rock called

This image from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the location of a rock called "Pinnacle Island" before it appeared in front of the rover in early January 2014. This image was taken during the 3,567th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity's work on Mars (Feb. 4, 2014). (NASA)


Digital writers
theweathernetwork.com

Saturday, February 15, 2014, 2:30 -

Scientists have solved the mystery of the "jelly doughnut'' rock on Mars that appeared to come out of nowhere, but conspiracy theorists should be warned, the findings might not be as sweet or savory as they'd like them to be. 

On Friday, NASA said that a wheel of the rover Opportunity broke it off a larger rock and then kicked it into the field of view. 

"[NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover] Opportunity drove over a rock and broke it open," said NASA. "One of the pieces, Pinnacle Island, was knocked downhill." 

The Internet was abuzz last month when the space agency released side-by-side images of the same patch of ground. Only one image showed the rock, which was white around the outside and dark red in the middle, and less than 2 inches wide. (See image below)

(Image: NASA/JPL/Cornell)

(Image: NASA/JPL/Cornell)


RELATED: Did NASA really find a jelly doughnut on Mars?


Scientists had suspected that one of Opportunity's wheels kicked the rock as it drove. They received confirmation after analyzing recent images of the original piece of rock. 

Opportunity recently celebrated 10 years on Mars. Its twin Spirit stopped communicating in 2010.

With files from The Associated Press

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