Mars rover makes puzzling revelation

Mars+rover+collecting+samples+to+bring+back+to+Earth.

Photo courtesy of NASA from Adobe Stock

Mars rover collecting samples to bring back to Earth.

Anthony Chan ’24, Staff Reporter

On July 30, 2020, NASA dispatched a Rover onto the terrestrial planet of Mars. On Nov. 9, the robot unearthed a riveting detail in a rock that has provoked a torrent of equally captivating, if not overly comically, rumors and speculations.

The objective for the Rover, short for Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, was to gather rock samples, suitable for examination on Earth, and find possible indications of ancient life on Mars. 

The Rover, affectionately named “Perseverance” or “Percy” for short, has been on the rocky planet for more than 200 days. However, it has now uncovered what’s beneath the surface of one of Mars’s vast wastelands of rocks. 

Scanning the dusty surface, the Rover found a set of layered rocks, which are a key part of sedimentary formation For context, sediment is silk, mud, and goop, all affected by water sources. When this water supply is drained away, the sediment is left to crush down on itself, squeezing itself together until eventually, the water is completely dissolved and a sedimentary rock is formed. These layers imply water or some form of liquid has come into contact with the rocks on Mars.

I’m curious, is this small white arrow pointing at anything interesting? Or is it just a small white triangular speck in the rock?”

— Twitter User

Upon closer inspection, the Rover scraped away a part of the stones, revealing a cluster of concentrated minerals and sediments. The robot took several photos of the inside and published it to the public. Yet, upon a closer look, the photos appear to have two white dots that look like arrows mixed in with the consecration, which has led some people to believe it could be a sign of Alien life.

On the official Twitter page of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover, one person tweeted in response to the photo asking if the arrow has any significance. “I’m curious, is this small white arrow pointing at anything interesting? Or is it just a small white triangular speck in the rock?” Another jokingly replied, “Definitely a tiny white alien.”

While NASA has not officially stated what is exactly in the photo, some have speculated that the Rover Scientists were annotating key features in the rock and forgot to remove the symbols before releasing it to the public.

If this is evidence that aliens are real or not, the layered rocks have given more supporting evidence that Mars contains water and could possibly have a sustainable environment like Earth. Maybe one day, it can be inhabitable and we can all call it a second home.