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Update: Curiosity object probably plastic


October 10, 2012

ChemCam image of object found with outline added for identification (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LAN)

ChemCam image of object found with outline added for identification (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LAN)

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The object that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover found on Sunday is probably a piece of plastic that fell off the unmanned exploration vehicle. According to mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at Pasadena, California, the object is “benign” and poses no likely threat to continuing the mission. However, the JPL rover team has not yet definitely identified the object and will continue investigating for another day.

The 4x4-sized Curiosity was gathering a soil sample when the object was sighted on October 7. Yesterday, the rover team used Curiosity’s Remote Micro-Imager of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to take a closer look at the object and determined that is was a bit of the Curiosity and most likely a shred of plastic and “not Martian material.”

Curiosity was collecting soil samples when the object was sighted (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LAN)

If the team is satisfied with the conclusions, Curiosity will continue with processing the soil sample that it collected and still holds in its scoop. Meanwhile, it will carry out imaging of the immediate area.

Source: NASA

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

What is the fine for littering on Mars? I hope NASA has a big checkbook. :)

Roy Griffith

Great, a planetary litterbug!

Fahrenheit 451

Styrofoam Peanuts in Space!!!


They just WANT us to think it's a piece of plastic from the rover... I'm not buying it!


Gizmage Spent more time on this stupid scrap of plastic than it warranted really. non eventfull at ALL.

Brian Mcc

....And it was not collected with the soil sample....why?


They spend millions building and sending the rover to Mars only to have bits fall off.

When a bit falls off, and I am guessing that every part of the rover would have been laboured over to try to minimise it's weight, the response is "oh well don't worry about it".

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