NASA scientists are baffled by a piece of rock that has mysteriously appeared in front of the Mars Opportunity rover. The doughnut-sized rock, nicknamed Pinnacle Island, showed up in photos taken a few days ago but is noticeably absent from photos snapped earlier this month. The six-wheeled rover has not moved in several weeks due to rough weather conditions on the Red Planet. News of the strange rock was announced by NASA Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist, Steve Squyres.

What explains the rock’s sudden appearance? Squyres offered a couple of possible explanations: the rover might have flicked the object while navigating the tricky terrain, or the rock might have landed on the Martian surface after a nearby meteor impact.

The researchers say the first explanation is more likely. They plan to study the rock further to determine where it came from.

Who knows? Maybe the Mars Rat flicked it there!

About the Author

Ryan Sprague is an author, screenwriter, and playwright splitting homes between New York City and Los Angeles. He is also an investigative journalist specializing in the topic of UFOs. He's interviewed witnesses in all walks of life about UFO sightings and possible encounters with extraterrestrials. He's spoken exclusively with military and intelligence officials who have convinced him of a legitimate and authentic phenomenon involving highly advanced aerial threats to our skies. He is the author of Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon and is also a contributing writer to the anthology, UFOs: Reframing the Debate. He is the creator and host of the Somewhere in the Skies Podcast on the Entertainment One Podcast Network and is a frequent contributor to the Rogue Planet news site. Speaking on the UFO topic, he has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, The Science Channel, and is a regular on The Travel Channel's hit television series, Mysteries at the Museum. His work can be found at http://www.somewhereintheskies.com

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