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Planetary Society hits Mars 'jelly donut' rock law suit

Before and after picture, Mars 'jelly donut' rock
Before and after picture, Mars 'jelly donut' rockNASA

The discovery of the so-called “jelly donut” rock by the Opportunity Rover on Mars is still causing debate among the scientific community. It has also caused a court case due to a lawsuit by a self-described “astrobiologist.” In a January, 31, 2014 post, the Planetary Society took a dim view of the lawsuit.

“A lawsuit filed earlier this week alleges that NASA is ignoring clear evidence for alien life on Mars, claiming that the rock that recently appeared next to the Opportunity rover is not a rock at all, but some type of fungus.

“The rock, described as a "jelly doughnut" due to its dark interior and light exterior, is the source of strong scientific and public interest. Scientists on the team are still debating how it got there, but the most accepted theory is that it popped out from under one of the rover's wheels during a drive. The rock appears to have been flipped upside down, exposing a surface not seen for potentially billions of years.

“Opportunity's science team maintains a strong interest in the rock and is continuing investigations, but that's not good enough for the Petitioner in this lawsuit.”

The suit claims that NASA is not taking sufficient interest in what the plaintiff views as evidence of life on Mars. The Planetary Society points out, correctly, that if anyone were to be excited about proof of life on Mars, especially on its inhospitable surface, it would be scientists at NASA. What would better support NASA’s ambition to send astronauts to Mars than definite proof of extraterrestrial life? Furthermore it looks like the Opportunity team has examined the mysterious rock as extensively as the aging Opportunity rover is able.