It looks like the Perseverance rover has an unwanted passenger, a rock stuck inside one of its wheels. The image of the stone was selected as the “Image of the Week” for Week 54 (Feb. 20 – 26, 2022) for the Perseverance mission. The Image of the Week is selected by public input. Perseverance captured this image on February 25th, 2022.

The rover’s Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera A captured the image. When the rover is driving, it makes periodic stops to let the Hazard Cameras survey the immediate surroundings. The Hazard Cameras help evaluate the hazards in front of and behind the rover, like large boulders, deep trenches, or dunes. The cameras create 3D views of the surroundings that help the rover make its own decisions without consulting with the rover team on Earth on every move.

The Mars 2020 mission carries more cameras to Mars than any interplanetary mission in history. The Perseverance rover itself has 19 cameras that will deliver images of the landscape in breathtaking detail. These include cameras for engineering (9), entry, descent and landing (3), and science (7). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Mars 2020 mission carries more cameras to Mars than any interplanetary mission in history. The Perseverance rover itself has 19 cameras that will deliver images of the landscape in breathtaking detail. These include cameras for engineering (9), entry, descent and landing (3), and science (7). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rock’s been there for a few days, based on images from March 2nd. It’s difficult to tell from the picture for sure, but it doesn’t appear to be wedged in. Will it fall out during normal operations?

This image from March 2nd shows the rock still stuck in one of Perseverance's six wheels. Will it fall out on its own? Is there any way to get it out? Does it matter? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
This image from March 2nd shows the rock still stuck in one of Perseverance’s six wheels. Will it fall out on its own? Is there any way to get it out? Does it matter? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rock doesn’t appear to be causing any damage or hindering the rover’s operations. And it’s not the first time a stone got stuck in a rover’s wheel. MSL Curiosity also had a rocky hitchhiker in one of its wheels.

MSL Curiosity had a rock stuck in its wheel in June 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
MSL Curiosity had a rock

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