Curiosity Finds…SOMETHING…on Martian Surface

by Jason Major on October 9, 2012

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While scooping its first samples of Martian soil, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured the image above, which shows what seems to be a small, seemingly metallic sliver or chip of… something… resting on the ground. Is it a piece of the rover? Or some other discarded fleck of the MSL descent mechanisms? Or perhaps an exotic Martian pebble of some sort? Nobody knows for sure yet, but needless to say the soil samples have taken a back seat to this new finding for the time being.

See a ChemCam image of the object below.

ChemCam shot of a recently spotted unknown object on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The ChemCam image, although monochrome, reveals some interesting and curiously organic-looking edges on the object… although it could be a bit of something that came loose from the rover itself. Perhaps a bit of plastic wrap or tape from a cable? Or a flake of metal from the back shell?

Or, as MSNBC’s Alan Boyle jokingly (?) suggested, another piece of “Martian macaroni”?

The MSL mission page states:

Curiosity’s first scooping activity appeared to go well on Oct. 7. Subsequently, the rover team decided to refrain from using the rover’s robotic arm on Oct. 8 due to the detection of a bright object on the ground that might be a piece from the rover. Instead of arm activities during the 62nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission, Curiosity is acquiring additional imaging of the object to aid the team in identifying the object and assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities.

Stay tuned for more info on this intriguing news as it’s available!

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

P.S. Of course, the now-famous “Sarcastic Rover” had something to say about it on Twitter:

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

zebur October 9, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Who has a screwdriver?!>

Sv Valentine October 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Foil condom wrapper

Leukegast October 9, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I knew it!

Kim Ber Lee B. October 9, 2012 at 10:10 PM

It looks like Snookie’s fake fingernail… let’s run tests..

John Panek October 10, 2012 at 12:12 AM

oh hell! its a toenail.

Adheeb October 10, 2012 at 2:27 AM

“The ChemCam image, although monochrome, reveals some interesting and curiously organic-looking edges on the object… although it could be a bit of something that came loose from the rover itself. Perhaps a bit of plastic wrap or tape from a cable? Or a flake of metal from the back shell?

“curiously organic-looking” How can a metal flake look ‘curiously organic’??? Me thinks you ‘see’ what you want to see. And they call this science?

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/97774/curiosity-finds-something-on-martian-surface/#ixzz28rK2x0Vx

David Grogan October 10, 2012 at 9:43 AM

i reckon it is a piece of debris from one of the many earlier space craft that broke up on mars re-entry over the past few decades.

Tim Mackey October 10, 2012 at 9:48 AM

it could be a part of Beagle 2…

Guy Grenon October 10, 2012 at 1:31 PM

looks like a piece of the parachute,or a grasshopper skin ???

Flechette October 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I am very surprised to see wire bundles exposed to the elements. It looks like there are all kinds of nooks and crannies for dust to clog up!

kNd October 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM

2k12 2MPIX CAM – curiosity killed cat

Alanator October 11, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Show me a pole that is one light year long, and I will attempt to answer your question! :)

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