Mars watchers got excited last month when NASA’s Opportunity Rover snapped a surprising set of pictures: a jelly doughnut-shaped rock had seemingly appeared where none previously existed. However, it appears the rock, dubbed “Pinnacle Island” by researchers, has a surprisingly simple explanation. The Opportunity Rover drove over it, kicking the white-rimmed, red-centered rock into its later position.
“Once we moved Opportunity a short distance away… we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance,” said mission investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University. “We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from.”