Xeno's strange news awards blog.
You may recall, NASA recently announced that a strange rock had somehow “appeared” in front of its Mars Opportunity rover. The explanations for the mystery rock were straight-forward: maybe some kind of nearby impact sent a rock toward the rover, or, more likely, the rover knocked the rock out of the ground and no one noticed until later.
Not so, says self-described scientist Rhawn Joseph, an author of trade books on topics ranging from alien life to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. … The rock was a living thing, and he’s filed a lawsuit to compel NASA to examine the rock more closely. … For the record: NASA has identified it as a rock. A very special rock, with rare properties, even. But definitely a rock.
… The lawsuit, filed yesterday in a California court, is aimed at NASA and its Administrator, Charles Bolden, requesting that the agency “perform a public, scientific, and statutory duty which is to closely photograph and thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate a putative biological organism.” Joseph is disputing the rock theory, since, “when examined by Petitioner the same structure in miniature was clearly visible upon magnification and appears to have just germinated from spores.” Joseph is the Petitioner. The “rock,” according to the lawsuit, was there the whole time, it just grew until it became visible. “The refusal to take close up photos from various angles, the refusal to take microscopic images of the specimen, the refusal to release high resolution photos, is inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre,” according to the suit.
Joseph has contacted multiple NASA employees and provided them with said evidence, according to the lawsuit, but they have failed to respond. … Here are his requests of NASA:
Petitioner has specifically requested and has demanded in writing the following of NASA, NASA’s chief administrator Bolden, and NASA’s rover team: A take 100 high resolution close-up infocus photos of the specimen identified in Sol 3540, at various angles, from all sides, and from above down into the “bowl” of the specimen, and under appropriate lighting conditions which minimize glare. B Take a minimum of 24 microscopic in-focus images of the exterior, lip, walls, and interior of the specimen under appropriate lighting conditions. C NASA, and the rover team must make public and supply Petitioner with all high resolution photos and images of that specimen as demanded in A and B. …
I’m working on Rock Creatures of Mars, a Field Guide.