You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

NASA sued over jelly doughnut-shaped Martian rock

Some red tape from the red planet — with NASA now facing a lawsuit over an alleged Martian rock that looks sort of like a jelly doughnut.

Earlier this week in a California court, astrobiologist Rhawn Joseph filed suit in an attempt to force the American space agency to examine a rock the Opportunity rover first photographed on Mars Jan. 8. (Via U.S. District Court)

His claim? It's alive.

The rock in question is eerily pastry-esque — white on the outside with a red center. According to Opportunity's lead scientist Dr. Steve Squyres, it looks "like a jelly donut." (Via

To add to the intrigue, it seems to have appeared out of nowhere in the Jan. 8 shot, while a shot of the same spot from 12 days prior shows no rock. (Via NASA)

Since then, NASA scientists have theorized the rock was simply knocked into the shot by one of the rover's wheels and it is, in fact, just a rock. (Via WPTV)

RT quotes Squyres matter-of-factly saying: "We have looked at it with our microscope. It is clearly a rock."

But that doesn't appear to be good enough for Joseph. He believes it could be a kind of fungus that grew into the shot rather than being physically moved there.

In his petition, he says the rock resembles "a mushroom-like fungus, a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and cyanobacteria." (Via U.S. District Court)

And he's now demanding NASA prove him wrong by providing 100 high-resolution photos and 24 microscopic in-focus images of the object's exterior.

Some have called Joseph's expertise into question, including a writer at Vice's Motherboard who described Joseph's credentials as fitting the "archetype of a pseudoscientist."

He also points to the journal the petition itself was published in — a little-known, online-only journal called CosmologyIt claims to study "existence in its totality."

For its part, NASA has only responded to the suit by saying it cannot discuss an ongoing legal matter.

All this isn't to say NASA isn't fascinated by the rock — which has since been dubbed "Pinnacle Island."

"It appears that it may have flipped itself upside down. If that's the case, what we're seeing is a surface, the underside of the rock ... that hasn't seen the Martian atmosphere for perhaps billions of years." (Via The Telegraph)

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Student of the Week Southeastern High School
Student of the Week Southeastern High School

Name: Saylor Evans School: Southeastern High School Grade: 12 Age: 18 Extra-curricular: Four year volleyball player, senior class president, National Honor Society secretary, Spirit of Southeastern member, two year Quick Recall member, three year choir member, choir vice president, high school musical cast member, student director for the musical,...
Athlete of the Week Southeastern High School
Athlete of the Week Southeastern High School

Name: Robbie Mills School: Southeastern High School Grade: 12 Age: 18 Sports: Football, Wrestling Claim to fame/honors: Honorable Mention in OHC for football and wrestling, 2nd team OHC in wrestling junior year, Honorable Mention in Clark County for wrestling junior/senior year Words you live by: “Never give up.” Toughest opponent: Mechanicsburg...
'Happy Days' stars share condolences after Erin Moran's death
'Happy Days' stars share condolences after Erin Moran's death

Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and other stars from the cast of "Happy Days" are sharing their condolences in the wake of Erin Moran's Death. Moran portrayed Joanie Cunningham, Howard's sister on the show. She was found dead Saturday night. “Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better...
‘Happy Days’ actress Erin Moran dead at 56
‘Happy Days’ actress Erin Moran dead at 56

Erin Moran, best known to TV audiences as Joanie Cunningham in “Happy Days” and its spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi,” was found dead Saturday. She was 56. Moran played the younger sister of Richie Cunningham for the show’s 11-season run. She reprised the role in the spinoff, which only lasted a season. After the show was...
Rare, 400-pound crocodile gets surgery at Florida zoo
Rare, 400-pound crocodile gets surgery at Florida zoo

A 13-year-old Orinoco crocodile was taken into surgery at the Zoo Hospital in Miami on Friday to treat an infected wound. A team of zoo staff veterinarians operated on the croc’s left wrist when “something, probably another cranky crocodile, took a bite out of it,” the Miami Herald reports. Orinoco crocodiles are a rare, endangered...
More Stories