Star Trek actor William Shatner has joined growing calls for Nasa to investigate a bizarre ‘jelly doughnut’ shaped rock on the Martian surface.
Shatner asked Nasa about the strange Mars rock found by Opportunity via Twitter during a press conference on the Opportunity rovers latest discoveries – asking mission controllers if they had ruled out ‘Martian rock throwers’.
Mission controllers responding by saying Shatner’s theory was ‘unlikely’.
‘We’ve got another question from Twitter, this one from William Shatner,’ NASA spokesman Guy Webster said.
‘He’d like to know if you’ve ruled out the Martian rock throwers in the case of the jelly doughnut.’
Mars rover lead scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University responded, saying ‘I think Martian rock throwers are unlikely, though we’ll keep our eyes open for those.’
‘We did actually have another scenario which we’re still thinking about.
‘It’s the ‘smoking hole in the ground hypothesis’ as I’ve called it.
‘We cannot yet rule out the possibility with certainty that there wasn’t a freshly formed impact crater nearby, and that this is a piece of stuff that was thrown out by a small impact. ‘
A controversial science writer has already filed a lawsuit against Nasa for their failure to investigate whether a rock seen on Mars is in fact an alien lifeform.
Last week the rock mysteriously appeared in front of the Opportunity rover, even though the same spot was empty a few days before.
It is believed the rock, which is made up of manganese, suplhur and magnesium, suddenly appeared after it was dislodged by a meteorite or even the rover itself.
But author Rhawn Joseph, who writes on a wide variety of subjects – including books theorising that life on Earth has its roots in outer space – rejects such mundane explanations.
The lawsuit, filed in a California court, is aimed at Nasa and requests that it ‘perform a public, scientific, and statutory duty which is to closely photograph and thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate a putative biological organism’.