Perseverance Rover Has Made A Friend On Mars

The Perseverance rover and a pet rock became inseparable four months ago.

Perseverance's left hazard-avoidance camera detected a rock in the left front wheel in early February.

The rock has travelled 5.3 miles in four months. NASA scientists inspected rocks from a structure called "Máaz" at Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake and river delta.

The Mars rover is now drilling cores and studying delta sedimentary materials. NASA says these rocks formed billions of years ago when there was water.

Perseverance's pet rock isn't affecting operations, but it's unclear how long it will stay.

If the pet rock slips out and leaves the rover, it will be surrounded by unfamiliar rocks.

The Perseverance rover isn't the first to have a pet rock. The 2004-2010 Spirit rover had a potato-sized boulder in its right rear wheel. NASA scientists had to remove the stone from the wheel.

Multiple rocks hitchhiked in Curiosity's front right wheel for weeks. The rover has been on Mars since mid-2012.

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