Earlier this week NASA reported that it was being sued because the space agency had failed to conduct a proper examination of a white rock as "life" on Mars, which had mysteriously appeared in front of the Opportunity rover. The lawsuit alleges that NASA did not properly examine the object well enough to conclude that it was "just" a rock. NASA said the appearance of the rock was caused by the nearby impact that sent the rock toward the rover, or, most likely, Opportunity knocked the rock from the ground and no one noticed until later.
"When examined by Petitioner," the suit states, "the same structure in miniature was clearly visible upon magnification and appears to have just germinated from spores. The refusal to take close up photos from various angles, the refusal to take microscopicimages of the specimen, the refusal to release high resolution photos, is inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre," the lawsuit alleged.
NASA responed to PopSci.com: "This is an ongoing legal matter and we are limited in what we can discuss about the filing. However, NASA has been publicly sharing our ongoing research into the rock dubbed “Pinnacle Island" since we originally released the images from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity earlier this month. The rock, which NASA is studying to better understand its chemical composition, also was widely discussed during a Jan. 22 NASA Television news conference. As we do with all our scientific research missions, NASA will continue to discuss any new data regarding the rock and other images and information as new data becomes available."
The Daily Galaxy via NASA and PopSci
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State University