While the Curiosity rover was busy scooping soil up on the surface of Mars the other day, it spotted something odd in the otherwise red dirt— a tiny piece of silver metal. Of course, some people are going crazy over this, but NASA says it’s either a small part of the rover that’s fallen off or debris from the lander. YOU BE THE JUDGE.
There is the distinct possibility, however, that this object is actually native to Mars, which would be far more exciting. It could be the tip of a larger object, or perhaps some kind of exotic, metallic Martian pebble (a piece of metal ore, perhaps).
The shiny object, which must surely stick out like a sore thumb for the army of NASA scientists who are tasked with poring through imagery sent back by Curiosity, was very much a chance find. The photo (see larger) was taken by Curiosity’s Mastcam to document the rover’s first use of the scoop, which sits on the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The scoop will be used to pick up soil, shake it around, and then deposit the sample in one of Curiosity’s on-board chemistry labs (SAM and ChemMin) for further analysis.
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