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Scientists Spot Metallic Object as Curiosity Probe Takes First Scoopful of Mars: VIDEO


Meanwhile on Mars...

Scientists have spotted something metallic on the Martian surface and aren't sure what it is but think it may be a piece of hardware that fell off the rover itself. The object (A screw, perhaps?) was spotted after the Curiosity rover took its first soil scoop of the red planet.

Another time-lapse video shows how the rover vibrates the soil:

The clip includes 256 frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera, taken at about eight frames per second, plus interpolated frames to run at actual speed in this 32-frames-per-second version. The scoop was vibrated to discard any overfill. Churning due to vibration also serves to show physical characteristics of the collected material, such as an absence of pebbles. The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long.


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  1. Riveting.

    Posted by: Beef and Fur | Oct 9, 2012 12:34:24 PM

  2. The hatch.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Oct 9, 2012 12:53:57 PM

  3. It's probably some drag queen's earring.

    Posted by: Ted In Dallas | Oct 9, 2012 1:01:56 PM

  4. Obviously it's a piece from a Ha'tak vessel destroyed during the last Goa'uld attack on Earth... or something like that.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Oct 9, 2012 1:06:53 PM

  5. Somebody dropped some change.

    Posted by: Jack M | Oct 9, 2012 1:13:44 PM

  6. My guess is that it a piece of the metal foil that in wrapped around some of the wires on the rover (thermal protection?)...It's really light-weight and can be easily blown around by the wind.

    Posted by: mark | Oct 9, 2012 1:43:35 PM

  7. That's where I left my nipple ring? Musta been a heluva party, I don't remember a thing!

    Posted by: Scotty | Oct 9, 2012 2:49:38 PM

  8. If there were three of them (not two, not four) in a little plastic bag for $2 then that would be proof of a Home Depot on Mars.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Oct 9, 2012 3:03:25 PM

  9. Just to be accurate, NASA is calling it a "bright object." It has not been determined if it is metallic or not. It could be made of a reflective plastic, for instance, so additional observations are needed. It will take a while, in part due to the round-trip delay of around 30 minutes in communicating with Curiosity that makes even simple operations time consuming.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 9, 2012 4:04:09 PM

  10. If I were one of the people in charge of turning screws tightly enough at NASA I would start looking for new work.

    Posted by: i could go on, but I won't | Oct 9, 2012 4:57:51 PM

  11. I think I'm in love with you JOHNAGJ .... xD

    Posted by: frank | Oct 9, 2012 9:44:51 PM

  12. Of course it came from the rover... what do you want from something that cost 10 Billion bucks? Something that's perfect!

    Posted by: Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher | Oct 10, 2012 9:01:32 AM

  13. @Anastasia: ROFL! Great answer. One of life's little annoyances when shopping for spare parts.

    @Frank: I've been in a Stargate mood lately, re-watching both SG-1 and Atlantis. Godo times. :)

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Oct 10, 2012 9:05:24 AM

  14. Obviously some alien left his bottle cap on Mars after hiding here on earth for a few years as a "human" He did not want to admit to the mothership he was addicted to Coca-Cola and threw the caps and bottles out the window......Shame he doesn't realize there are deposit laws and "he/she/it is out some cash now.......LOL Next up the rover will find a empty bag of Dorito's.......

    Posted by: Darrell | Oct 10, 2012 11:11:07 AM

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