- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2014

Mars may not have aliens, but it does have “jelly doughnut” rocks — and NASA scientists are baffled.

Speaking at a special event to honor the decades-long mission of the Mars Opportunity Rover, lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University broke the news of the sudden appearance of the mystery rock and what it means for the red planet.

“It’s about the size of a jelly doughnut,” Mr. Squyres told Discovery News. “It was a total surprise, we were like ‘wait a second, that wasn’t there before, it can’t be right. Oh my god! It wasn’t there before!’ We were absolutely startled.”

Mr. Squyres believes that the odd specimen may have been unearthed by wheels of the Rover or the impact of a nearby meteorite.

“Mars keeps throwing new stuff at us,” the scientist told Discovery. “It obligingly turned upside down, so we’re seeing a side that hasn’t seen the Martian atmosphere in billions of years and there it is for us to investigate. It’s just a stroke of luck.”

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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