Curiosity Rover Finds More Strange, Bright Objects in Martian Soil | Wired Science |


NASA’s Curiosity rover took three scoops from a small Martian sand dune and found several bright particles in the soil. Scientists think these are unrelated to the odd bright object that Curiosity saw last week, which turned out to be plastic that fell from the probe, and are probably indigenous Martian mineral flecks.

Curiosity has sat for several weeks at an area called Rocknest, where its job has been to sample the Martian soil, practicing using its scoop and analysis instruments. The plan was to take three scoops and send the sand through the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) tool to clean it of any material that may have hitchhiked from Earth.

The first scoop was interrupted by the aforementioned bright plastic litter but, after determining that it was benign, engineers proceeded with their schedule. In the second scoop, “we began to see some bright flecks in the scoop areas,” said geologist John Grotzinger of Caltech, Curiosity’s project scientist, during a NASA press conference on Oct. 18.

 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. 

Written By: Adam Mann
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  1. Before I read the article, while glancing the title, I was wondering about how much these machines can contaminate a specimen. Soil, in this case. And another question arise in my mind,… soil on this photograph looks like wet conglomerate, sand and gravel. Does the same principles concerning forces in soil (cohesion and others) apply on Mars as they do on Earth?

  2. Might be one of them white raisins that those Muslims blow themselves up over.

    But I digress…

    It could be a piece of ice, or regular cracked white clear rock/stone. I’m sure they’ll pick it up to have a closer look. Amazing science nonetheless.

  3. Modesti
    And another question arise in my mind,… soil on this photograph looks like wet conglomerate, sand and gravel. Does the same principles concerning forces in soil (cohesion and others) apply on Mars as they do on Earth

    That probably depends on where you go on Earth!  The temperature on Mars is well below the freezing point of water – almost everywhere – most of the time.

  4. Curiosity : “ H-E-L-L-O . .L-E-A-D-E-L . . M-A-R-T-I-A-N ”.

    A sleeping, (but heavily armed), ‘leadel’ Martian : “zzzzzz” O+O+O ??? “ZAAAgh!?” “zzzomzeee Yuze”
    “Bloobol baaargz . . . graaashd . . . oveeerzzzexd ” “Zaaagh”
    (Curiosity’s univr$l tran$ltr) :  “. . G-O . . F-U-G . . O-V . . B-E-X . . T-O-E . . E-R-F ”. “ YA . . Z-O-M-B-I-E”.

  5. It’s a piece of Gagarin’s Mars lander. Anyone who believes he died in that plane crash is just a patsy believing the capitalist pigdog propaganda!

    I’m going to go with some form of diamond. Hopefully not a really special one though, because last time we sent an expedition to get some rare diamonds a load of apes started squashing their heads with giant stone paddles. I saw it on that documentary.

  6. They will in time.
    Problem is the chips and flakes are so small that handling them with the scoop will inevitably contaminate the substrate sample with surrounding material, so difficult to get the things and only their matrix into the Chemin suite of tools.
    Besides they are to large to go through the filters inside.

    They will probably try the chemcam with its laser for a point analysis…but they are analysing regolith at the moment, and they are concentrating on that aspect, but they will get around to it for their own piece of mind if nothing else!

  7. Orange, it’s Orange soil! …. Darn it’s all over the place.. Ah here’s something different. White, it’s a white speck of rock!
    Could be a lot of stuff. Ranging from calcite to gypsum, which isn’t always white by the way, but this spec also isn’t really white is it? I’m afraid this Martian rover is equipped mainly to sort out anything that will prove the relatively recent abundance of water. Of course this spec will fall outside that scope. But that isn’t a bad thing. Give’s us another reason to send a new rover.
    Of course it’s a piece of bone of an experimental animal God experimented on on Mars before sending it to Earth.

  8. That Planet Mars even exists is entirely theoretical. This is clearly being filmed in a desert somewhere, and that bone fragment proves that. I believe that there is a massive sheet of wallpaper covering the inside of the 500 million kilometer radius universe that we live in, so this is clearly faked.

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