Within four months, the boulders have cut more than 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) through the rugged terrain. She joined the mission during the expedition to explore Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake and river delta, where NASA scientists surveyed rocks from a formation the team refers to as “Máaz.”
It escorted the persevering rock north to the Octavia E. Butler landing site before turning west into a delta remnant that scientists call “Kodiak,” and then to the west of the Jezero Delta.
Rolling in the rover wheel, the pet perseverance rock does not harm operations, and it remains to be seen how long the new robotic explorer friend will survive.
If the pet rock fell and called the rover, it would be far from home, surrounded by strange and unfamiliar rocks.
Pet Rocks Spirit and Curiosity
Perseverance isn’t the first Mars spacecraft to adopt a pet rock.
The Spirit rover, which was active from 2004 to 2010, had stabilized a potato-sized boulder in its right rear wheel early in its flight. The stone stopped the wheel, so NASA scientists had to remove it.