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:
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