Jelly Donut rock dispute: Man suing NASA for failing to investigate alien life on Mars

This composite image provided by NASA shows before and-after images taken by the Opportunity rover. At left is an image of a patch of ground taken on Dec. 26, 2013. At right is in image taken on Jan. 8, 2014 showing a rock shaped like a jelly doughnut that had not been there before. The space agency said the rover Opportunity likely kicked up the rock into its field of view. Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004 and continues to explore. (AP Photo/NASA)

February 3, 2014 7:27:24 AM PST
A neuropsychologist and author is suing NASA for failing to investigate what he believes to be a living thing on the surface of Mars.

The intriguing Martian rock -- dubbed the "jelly donut" because it's white on the outside with a red center -- was photographed recently by NASA's Opportunity rover. But Rhawn Joseph doesn't think it's a rock at all, ABC News reports.

He believes it could be a "mushroom-like fungus, a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and cyanobacteria, and which on Earth is known as Apothecium," Joseph speculated in the petition.

Joseph filed a lawsuit in a California court earlier this week demanding NASA "thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate" the mystery object that seemingly appeared out of nowhere on the surface of Mars this month, ABC News reports.

NASA scientists admitted it was "unlike anything we have seen before," but they definitely determined it to be a rock.

Part of the controversy is in the rock's timing. It appeared in an image taken January 8, but it was not in an image of the same patch of ground taken December 26.

NASA offered a few explanations for this, including the possibility that the rover itself kicked it into view.

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