On Mars, Endurance finds an unexpected companion!

Perseverance is currently isolated from Ingenuity, his lifelong sidekick, but he has found Pet Rock to be with him.

As interesting as it is, the red deserts of Mars are not busy with activity; if they’re not moving or studying the surrounding ground, rovers like Curiosity or Perseverance have to look for time long.

Granted, the latter can rely on his lifelong sidekick, the Ingenuity helicopter. But now, this daring little engine is temporarily grounded after the failure of its inclinometer (see our article). It is therefore deprived of its own safety in exploring the Jezero crater delta… or near; NASA recently revealed that he is currently traveling with an unexpected hitchhiking companion!

Perseverance has a little rock in his shoe

On the other hand, it’s not a question of a little green man hiding there to mock this hunter of extraterrestrial life … but a little rock put in his shoe – or even more so his left front wheel. .

This is a situation that can easily become problematic, as evidenced by an episode that occurred on December 29, 2021. Some gravel was able to enter the Endurance chassis. They then threatened to damage part of the equipment used to take the samples.

However, the nearest robotic hospital is on Earth, about 200 million kilometers away. So the rover was forced to operate on himself; he had to break his own arm to identify the problem (see NASA article). An anecdote that is almost reminiscent of the story of Leonid Rogozov, this Russian doctor had to perform an appendectomy on himself due to the lack of another doctor in the Antarctic base where he lived.

A rock hitchhiker rode Perseverance! © Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A real one movie on the road Martian

To prevent these types of accidents, the wheels are specifically designed to allow sand and minerals to pass through to prevent them from getting stuck. But that hasn’t stopped this pebble from settling well – and hasn’t worked since! Fortunately, this little piece of rock has proven to be less of a problem than its predecessors and less dangerous to the Endurance equipment.

Stone therefore finds himself moved to the rank of protagonist in a series of episodes. the big mop; This went on for four months and allowed him to reach 8.5 kilometers. And this time period, the robot’s new Pet Rock is in the front row to witness some important stages of the mission.

During this factroad buddy movie”While the Americans are excited about it, he can enjoy the supposed volcanic rocks of the Máaz Formation, observe the unique rock forms at Kodiak Point, or even realize the expanse of the delta as the Endurance approaches the edge from the crater .

The delta is in front of the outside of Jezero Crater, where NASA hopes to find traces of past life. © NASA/JPL-Caltech

The hitchhiker must fasten his seatbelt

Now it remains to be seen what will happen to this unexpected companion. Unfortunately he will not be able to stay with Perseverance until the end of his journey. In fact, the rover will soon attack the rise of the steep sides of the delta bordering the crater from Jezero; an area that has been the primary purpose of its mission and where NASA hopes to find traces of past lives.

Due to the significant inclination, there is a high chance that his passenger will find himself ejected at the end of the first left turn … This will mark the end of a mini-series that is definitely completely anecdotal, but still very fun. The rock will soon find itself at the foot of the slope, right in the middle of other minerals whose composition and structure are certainly very different … enough to confuse future Martian explorers. A very exciting prospect at NASA.

If you’re a Martian geologist reading this in the future, beware: if you find a rock that isn’t visible in the area, it’s probably the old Pet Rock of Perseverance!

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