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back to article Mars rover stalks mystery space alien object

NASA's interplanetary robot rover "Opportunity", prowling the haematite steppes of the Meridiani Planum on Mars, has crept up on and photographed a mysterious space boulder or "cobble". Astro boffins theorise that the object may be alien in origin, rather than from the red planet. Block Island pictured by NASA rover Opportunity …

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Joke

Cheddar

It's very obviously that chunk of cheese that was lost.

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Happy

Looks like a McDonalds wrapper to me

or worse still KFC

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Bronze badge

Ah well..

"Meanwhile, Opportunity's companion rover Spirit remains bogged down in a sand trap in the Gusev crater on the other side of the red planet. NASA brainboxes are engaged in a lengthy series of trials using a test rover in a sandbox on Earth, attempting to figure out a way of getting the trapped droid moving again."

The should have got AA membership.

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Bronze badge
Stop

I know it's highly unlikely...

But I hope I'm not the only one who thought that that pic was taken while the tide was coming in.

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Anonymous Coward

Viltvodle 6

Looks more like it was sneezed out of the nose of the great green Arkleseizure.

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Terminator

hunvee on mars == boring

"new, much larger - Humvee sized - nuclear powered rover"

Why send it to mars when it would be perfect to aid the RotM here on earth.

I for one welcome our Humvee wielding overlords!

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Alien

All the while

the little green men on mars are thinking "damned humans, trashing up the place like their home planet. Hope they don't move any time soon."

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Coffee/keyboard

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it....

Hail the mysterious ureilite mother-planetoid, Uhura. We come in peace.

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Silver badge

Martians, beware!

"NASA now plans to despatch a new, much larger - Humvee sized - nuclear powered rover"

So they are going to crash a large, nuke-powered 'bot onto Mars. Up to now, the Martians have been getting on with their lives in their underground cities, but they may take offence to us chucking a lump of unstable, radioactive material at their home. They may see it as an attack, and despatch their fleet (carefully hidden until now) to wipe out their unfriendly neighbours.

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Bronze badge

I for one...

...welcome our nanodiamond overlords.

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Happy

I for one...

Welcome our extramartian cobble overlords.

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Silver badge

Mission Impossible Accomplished ....Virtual Reality Passes ITs Turing Tests . Pow Wow?

"NASA engineers originally thought that the Mars-prowling machines might manage to travel as much as a kilometer from their landing sites over lifetimes measured in months. In fact both machines remain in operation well over 5 years from landing."

And what does that tell Pioneers of the Martian Environment? IT is Lively and Virtually HyperRadioProActive?

And a Pow Wow with Whom and What over What with Whom? :-)

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WTF?

What exactly

What exactly is an alpha particle x ray spectrometer? I know what an alpha particle is, I know what an X ray is, but how do you combine the two?

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WTF?

Shurely shome mishtake?

Something "Alien" managed to hit the martian surface without leaving a great big bloody hole?

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Terminator

Has nobody seen Red Planet...

...Opportunity hadn't moved away from it, it had moved away from Opportunity.

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Alien

I think

If I start seeing two green rings moving over dead people, then I am blaming NASA and their Nuke Rover for insiting a war . It's not even like spectrum can protect us!

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Bronze badge

I'm concerned

It looks precarious. The slightest touch and I fear our meteolith will slip right off and fall forever.

@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse: follow the link given <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/images/mer-20090731b.html> - You want tide? I thought they'd photoshopped it for fun!

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Alien

Droppings?

Is this AMANFROMMARS1 Droppings?

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Bronze badge

Nah...

Piccie was obviously cobbled together..

Seriously (I can be, albeit rarely) those machines are a tribute to engineering. Well done, chaps. Wondrous job.

(Thank fuc*k they weren't made in Taiwan. Immediate fail after the 3-month warranty expired. Bit like the AA-powered Pathfinder.)

Note to self: Never send a dog to Mars, esp. if it's name is "Beagle"

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Silver badge
FAIL

@elpaw

Did you try a quick google? If you had you would know what an alpha particle x ray spectrometer was in about the time it took me to type this...

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Stop

Extended mission

"NASA engineers originally thought that the Mars-prowling machines might manage to travel as much as a kilometer from their landing sites over lifetimes measured in months. In fact both machines remain in operation well over 5 years from landing."

Do we really need to make reference to this in every single Mars rover mission? We get it... NASA over-engineered it! Let's just stick to the annual "birthday" celebrations and the inevitable article when one of them bites the (Martian) dust.

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Bronze badge

Opportunity for critisim here

So NASA expected only 1Km from these machines? Clearly the Yanks failed in one of two ways:

a. NASA didn't do their maths properly (bad NASA! Bad. Bad.)

b. The builders of the robots over built. Much like builders everywhere.

Either way, the Yanks have proven once again their inferiority.

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Silver badge

Cobblers

These NASA speculators should talk to some Earth-side geologists.

Such sights are reasonably common on earth with local explanations.

For example, if there is water in the ground and it freezes, then it can push up boulders.

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Alien

Captain Scarlett

Look what happened to Captain Black the last time a Humvee size vehicle crawled across Mars. "This is the voice of the Mysterons... we know you can can hear us earthmen..". Where's Gerry Anderson when you need him!

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Alien rock on alien planet

@By Steen Hive

"Something "Alien" managed to hit the martian surface without leaving a great big bloody hole?"

Actually, small meteorites don't make holes on earth. If they're small enough they get slowed down to mere "terminal velocity" before they hit the ground.

Of course, that's on Earth. The definition for "small enough" is much, err, smaller on Mars, given that the tenuous atmosphere would slow down an incoming meteor much, much less. So you may still have a point.

Anybody else got any ideas how this rock could have got there without making a mess of the surrounding surface?

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Coffee/keyboard

Why spend all that money.....

....looking at rocks when they could use it to give me a pair of quantum flux wings, shaped in a magnetic resonance field?

That would cleary be of more benefit to mankind.

*sigh* I would be so beautiful........

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Bronze badge
Thumb Up

No crater

@Stuart Van Onselen

@Steen Hive

There's an 800m diameter crater (Victoria Crate) just out of shot (seriously). It's possible that 'Block Island' is a fragment of the meteroite that created Victoria Crater, flung off on impact and landing where it now sits. If that's what did happen, it would have landed with much less energy than an object coming directly from space. It could have created a much smaller dent that's been erased by erosion and filling in over the estimated 3 to 4 billion years since it arrived.

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Boffin

If they're sending a Hummer

Maybe they can give it a robotic tow rope and use it to drag out the one stuck in the sand.

Also, to the person wondering why there's no crater; if you're that close to a a rock that big that hit the planet from space, you're probably stood in the crater.

Alan.

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Rocks

I thought they went to mars to study martian rocks, not foreign ones, are they really distracted so easily?

Maybe the martians placed it there to tempt the rover away from their city walls, "Ooh look, shiny shiny, come see!"

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Black Helicopters

@ BlueGreen

You are right, the picture there <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/images/mer-20090731b.html> looks like it could have been taken on any beach just about anywhere on earth, it even looks wet!

I call conspiracy, we didnt go to Mars, they have just been taking arty farty photos on Pendine sands!

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Thumb Down

Never Learned Lessons

I am glad that NASA has continued the Rover Mission, I have to say that I am a little miffed about the SECOND time the same Rover has buried itself in another sand trap. The Rover's handlers did not learn their lesson from the first time, and I have to say that is not very inspiring to watch. You can see by studying the rear pictures as it slowly traveled forward that the wheels were going lower into the turf and not staying on top of the surface as it has for 95 percent of the time. Not very smart, and I thought they had reprogramed to avoid such scenarios from the last time.

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Thumb Down

Fake!

It's obviously a leftover from when we faked the Moon Landings on Mars

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Alert

Hoootini!

ill bet you anything there are a bunch of Jawas behind that rock waiting to zap the rover with an ion blast and sell it cheap.

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Paris Hilton

Is it...

one of amanformMars's rocks???????

Paris, she knows a thing or two about rocks

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Alert

if it had already gone past it

where are the tyre tracks?

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Bloody hell

Either that planet is tiny or that rover is enormous

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Coat

Wow a rock...

Slow news day ?

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Troll

Ohris F

That's no cobble it's an early generation Monolith obviously made in China.

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Alien

Helo Dave...

That is just a rock,

Any decent mysterious object from an alien civilization looks like this:

http://tcal.net/wp-content/uploads/2006/10/2001.jpg

Rob

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Bronze badge

@ Mr Van Onselen

<<Anybody else got any ideas how this rock could have got there without making a mess of the surrounding surface?>>

Maybe it bounced a few times. Like Beagle didn't.

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Unhappy

oh great thats bloody unfair

Why does amanfrommars get a free nuclear powered vehicle !!

i want one :(

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Alien

Nuking Marvin

So we're about to dispatch something with a nuclear reactor on board, when the success rate for landing things safely on Mars is... rather less than perfect?

Well, it's one way of settling the 'life on Mars' argument: if a nuclear 'incident' doesn't push Marvin and his pals into invading, it's a safe bet there's nobody there after all.

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