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Mars NASA Science

Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars 396

MrSeb writes "A few hundred million miles away on the surface of the Red Planet, Mars rover Curiosity has photographed an unidentified, shiny, metallic object. Now, before you get too excited, the most likely explanation is that bright object is part of the rover that has fallen off — or perhaps some debris from MSL Curiosity's landing on Mars, nine weeks ago. 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). Close-up imagery will now be captured and analyzed, and within the next few days we should know if it's simply a piece of Curiosity — or something a whole lot more exciting."
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Curiosity Spies Unidentified, Metallic Object On Mars

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  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @02:42PM (#41599189)
    You're not a cynic, you're just bad at reading. No one's suggesting it's something worth mining today. The second sentence points out that it's probably a bit of the rover.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @02:53PM (#41599351) Homepage

    I found this ChemCam [] image in the raw image archive []. It does look like a jagged shaving of... something.

    While this could just be because the ChemCam telescope/imager has the highest resolution of anything on the mast (and they don't want to move the arm now), it might also mean that they plan to zap the object with the laser and measure its composition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @02:58PM (#41599407) []:

    "Curiosity's main activity in the 62nd sol of the mission (Oct. 8, 2012) was to image a small, bright object on the ground using the Remote Micro-Imager of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument.

    The rover team's assessment is that the bright object is something from the rover, not Martian material. It appears to be a shred of plastic material, likely benign, but it has not been definitively identified.

    To proceed cautiously, the team is continuing the investigation for another day before deciding whether to resume processing of the sample in the scoop. Plans include imaging of surroundings with the Mastcam."

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:04PM (#41599481)

    No, no, no. Prothean.

  • by dadelbunts ( 1727498 ) on Tuesday October 09, 2012 @03:12PM (#41599563)
    Of course they would be interested, and of course they would want a huge pile of money. None of these things have to do with you knowing about it. The military and NASA have been interested in a plethora of things that while they were interested in, they also made sure you were not. Not saying thats what they will do in this case, but they have a very good track record of keeping things hidden from the public.
  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by sFurbo ( 1361249 ) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:02AM (#41605943)
    Mass and the distance of the surface from the center, so a higher density would make the escape velocity higher. Mars' density is around 4, gold has a density around 20, so assuming no pressure effects and constant mass, the volume will go down by a factor of 4, so the radius will decrease by 37%. The escape velocity is proportional to the square root of the inverse of the radius, so it will go up with 60%.

    Assuming constant radius, the mass will go up with a factor of four, and as the escape velocity is proportional to the square root of the mass, the escape velocity will end up around Earths present escape velocity.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard