An uninvited stone guest who entered a persistent rover a few months ago is still riding a rover.
NASA's persistent astronaut has six wheels Each with its own engine. The wheels are made of aluminum with some titanium components for both strength, weight and flexibility. This makes them strong enough to withstand impact and scratches from contact with rock.
Curiosity rover's guest rock in June 2017
Now for the past 4 months, a fellow astronaut He had an unexpected trip. This little rock entered the front left wheel of the probe on 341 Martian Day, more than 100 Martian days ago, and has moved more than 8.5 kilometers since then. Although this stone does not damage the wheel, it still stays in place during the journey, even though it passes through paths full of various surface features, and appears periodically in the left-hand detection camera (Hazcam) images./p>
This is not the first time a rock has landed on an astronaut. About 18 years ago, a potato-sized rock made its way to the rear wheel of the right rover "Spirit" and then exited. The "Curiosuty" astronaut also chooses the right front wheel as a Martian companion. While it is not clear exactly how long these rocks are stuck in the wheel, they will come out after a few weeks, but the current companion is persevering in setting records for free riding (Hitchhiking) on Mars!
This slow companion rock Perseverance has seen many things along the way. On the day of Mars 341, the probe was still conducting Ali's first campaign at the bottom of the ocean floor. Where the studied rocks are part of the Maz Formation, which is estimated to be composed of lava flows.
Perseverance view of the remnants of the ancient tidal delta
known as the Kodiak. A piece of rock can be seen in the front
It will tell us about the landing site of Octavia E. Butler and then the West passing through the spectacular remains of the ancient Kodiak Delta. Now the astronaut has launched a second scientific campaign called the Delta Front, grinding the first sedimentary rock. The pet stone, too, is now a long way from its own home.
Where might this charming stone end its journey? It is possible that the rock will fall at some point during the next ascent to the edge of the delta crater. "If that happens, it will land between rocks that are expected to be very different from its structure, and even according to one member of the perseverance team, future geologists on Mars may be puzzled as to why such a rock exists there."
Cover photo: a perseverance rover's guest rock