Impossible-Looking Mars Rock Stars in Stunning NASA Rover Image

This story is part Welcome to Marsour series exploring the red planet.

I would like to share my excitement about a rock. It’s a little rounded. It is sitting on – or possibly attached to or eroded away from – another bigger, bigger rock. I like this rock. He doesn’t seem to have to do what he does. Looks like it should have rolled or fallen. But it’s just there, doing its rock thing. On Mars.

NASA’s Perseverance rover captured the Martian rock in a wider image taken with its mast-mounted camera on June 12. Discover the complete landscape:

NASA’s Perseverance rover took this view of Mars in the Jezero Crater River Delta region on June 12.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Did you understand everything? The small round daredevil rock is just one feature worth mentioning. There is also the sloping sandy ground, the layered cliff and a protrusion that looks like a snake’s head or a seal with its mouth open.

Perseverance is currently exploring a fascinating river delta region in Jezero Crater. Scientists are giddy with excitement for this part of the mission because it could help us understand if Mars once harbored microbial life. The rover will collect rock samples which 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, although there was fierce competition from a crowd of awesome rover snapshots.

It was not enough for some to simply appreciate the beauty of the view as it was; they needed to expand it. So here is the landscape with a Gorn from Star Trek:

And with Rafiki standing on the cliff lift simba from Disney’s The Lion King (cue Circle of Life):

And with the Looney Tunes Wile E. Coyote is apparently looking for signs of roadrunners on Mars:

So this is it. This gem of a Perseverance rover view may be both one of the most awe-inspiring and one of the funniest photos ever taken on Mars. Meepmeep.

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