The Rock Caught in NASA’s Perseverance Rover Is Lastly Free

The rock was cradled inside one in every of Perseverance’s six wheels.
Picture: NASA

Mars is a lonely place, and it simply obtained a little bit lonelier for one rover. NASA’s Perseverance has parted methods with a lumpy stone that has been its companion for greater than a 12 months.

Final spring, a photograph of one in every of Perseverance’s wheels revealed a small rock alongside for the journey. A not too long ago captured image, nonetheless, reveals a lonely aluminum wheel with out the stowaway that had been caught there all these months. The unhappy information was confirmed on Twitter by Gwénaël Caravaca, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, who bid farewell to Percy’s pet rock.

The rock had gained considerably of a cult following, as followers adopted the adventures of the rover and its little good friend. These followers reacted to the information by evaluating the rock to Wilson, the well-known red-faced volleyball that grew to become Tom Hanks’ companion within the film Solid Away earlier than being misplaced at sea. One Twitter consumer wrote, “All of us knew today might come, however nonetheless…”

Perseverance’s pet rock was found in a picture captured on February 25, 2022, and later stored reappearing within the rover’s selfies. Percy’s pet rock spent a complete of 427 Martian days cradled contained in the wheel, touring round 6 miles (10 kilometers) throughout the Martian terrain.

On the time, NASA decided that the rock didn’t pose a threat to Perseverance and that it might ultimately fall out. It took over a 12 months, however that prediction has come true.

Perseverance nonetheless has a companion on Mars, nonetheless: the Ingenuity helicopter. This tiny chopper simply gained’t give up, not too long ago logging its fiftieth flight on the floor of Mars, when it was initially deliberate to carry out simply 5 brief hops. The rover captured a brand new close-up image of Ingenuity this month.

Ingenuity does have its good qualities, however we nonetheless want a while to recover from the lack of Rocky.

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