This story is part ofour series exploring the red planet.
I would like to share my enthusiasm for a rock. It’s a bit rounded. It sits on – or perhaps attached to or eroded from – another higher, larger rock. I love this stone. It does not look like it should do what it does. It looks like it should have rolled away or fallen off. But it’s just there and doing its rock thing. On Mars.
NASA’s Perseverance rover captured the Mars rock in a wider image taken with the mast-mounted camera on June 12. Check out the whole landscape:
Did you take in everything? The small round daredevil rock is just a feature worth noting. There is also the sloping sand hill, the layered cliff and a protrusion that resembles a snake’s head or a seal with an open mouth.
Perseverance is currently exploring onein the Jezero crater. Scientists are dizzy with excitement for this part of the mission because it may help us understand if Mars was once home to microbial life. The rover will collect rock samples that will hopefully be brought back to earth for study.
The eye-catching image captured the imagination of Mars fans online. Astrobiologist David Grinspoon called it “perhaps the most evocative photo ever taken on Mars.” I nodded in agreement, even though it has stiff competition from a number .
It was not enough for anyone to just appreciate the beauty of the view as it is; they had to expand it. So here is the landscape with a Gorn from Star Trek:
And with Rafiki standing on the precipice promises Simba from Disney’s The Lion King (cue Circle of Life):
And with Looney Tunes’ Wile E. Coyote is apparently looking for signs of roadrunners on Mars:
So there you go. This gem of a Perseverance rover view can simultaneously be one of the most terrifying and one of the funniest photos ever taken on Mars. Meep-meep.