NASA: We Still Don't Know What Those Shiny Particles On Mars Are, But They're Not From The Rover

NASA confirmed this afternoon that some bright particles found in a hole dug by the Curiosity’s scooper are actually from Mars and not debris from the rover. This is the second round of shiny mysterious objects the rover has run into while scooping soil at Glenelg. The first was probably a piece of plastic or tape that fell off of the rover itself.

Adam Mann with WiredScience has more:

After last week’s plastic encounter, Curiosity’s science team worried the new particles might be man-made. Since they turned up in scoop holes, however, the granules must have been buried in the subsurface. They likely came from larger minerals that broke down. They might also represent the product of some geological soil process that generates a bright but unknown mineral.

Curiosity, which is 10 weeks into its two-year mission, has now collected three scoops of Martian soil. The third scoop is currently being analysed by the rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument to determine what minerals are in it. 

Here are some pictures from the scooping mission:

MarsThree bite marks left in the Martian ground by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity are visible in this image taken by the rover’s right Navigation Camera during the mission’s 69th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 15, 2012). The third scoopful, collected on that sol, left the bite or pit farthest to the right. Each of the three bites is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide.

Photo: NASA

Mars

Photo: NASA

Mars

Photo: NASA

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