Perseverance rover accidentally adopts hitchhiking ‘pet rock’

An image of Perseverance’s ‘pet rock’ stuck in the rover’s front left wheel taken on May 26 using the rover’s front-left Hazcam. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Roaming Mars is a lonely existence for NASA’s Perseverance, but the exploratory rover now has a traveling companion: a hitchhiking “pet rock” that got stuck in one of its wheels. Luckily, the Martian stone won’t impact the rover’s science mission and is only a minor inconvenience — like having a pebble stuck in your shoe.

Perseverance’s front-left wheel accidentally picked up the pet rock on Feb. 4, or Sol 341 — the 341st Martian day of the Martian year, according to a statement by NASA (opens in new tab). The rock has periodically photobombed images taken by the rover’s front-left Hazard Avoidance Camera (Hazcam). Recent images show that the rock is still tumbling along with Perseverance 126 days (123 sols) after it first hitched a ride. (A sol, or Martian day, is just 37 minutes longer than an Earth day.)

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