This Article is From Apr 21, 2023

NASA's Mars Rover Has Lost Its 'Pet Rock' After More Than A Year

A pet rock that remained with the NASA Perseverance rover for more than a year has been lost.

NASA's Mars Rover Has Lost Its 'Pet Rock' After More Than A Year

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover with the pet rock.

NASA's Perseverance rover has now been exploring Mars for a little over two years, and it has captured and sent back some amazing photos during that stretch.

It had been travelling around Mars with its pet rock. But now it is without its previous friend. The rover carried the stone with it as it traversed the Red Planet's hills and deserts for more than a year. It is reportedly no longer there.

Dr. Gwenael Caravaca, who is in charge of the rover's SuperCam instrument, said that the team discovered overnight that the rock had been lost in the most recent Hazcam photograph.

In a tweet, Caravaca said that "perseverance lost its rock friend."

Farewell, "Rock Friend", We found out in the latest Hazcam that we have lost our pet rock in the front left wheel of NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover. It spent 427 Sols with us (more than an Earth year!) and travelled about 10 km since Sol 341. Farewell, rock friend, you will be missed!" he wrote.

Early in February 2022, the rock was first noticed. It managed to find its way into the left front wheel of the rover, where, like a loyal companion, it remained for quite some time.

However, Perseverance has the aim of collecting 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes to be eventually sent back to Earth sometime in the 2030s for lab analysis.

About the size of an SUV, it weighs a tonne, is equipped with a seven-foot (two-metre)-long robotic arm, has 19 cameras, two microphones, and a suite of cutting-edge instruments to assist in its scientific goals.