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Mars 'jelly doughnut' rock intrigues scientists

Published on Jan 24, 2014 5:51 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A strange rock that looks like a jelly doughnut has appeared on Mars, and scientists are closer to figuring out how it got there, a top Nasa expert said on Thursday.

The small, round object suddenly popped up in pictures taken 12 days apart by the US space agency's decade-old Opportunity rover.

On December 26, 2013, it was not there. On January 8, it was. But what is it? "It looks like a jelly doughnut, white around the outside, red in the middle," said Mr Steve Squyres, the principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rovers.

He described the tint as a "weird deep red color, not a Martian kind of red," which is more of a rusty hue.

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