rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

Last updated on: October 18, 2012 10:39 IST

PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

     Next

Next

NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars is apparently littering on the Red planet.

Pictures beamed back by the rover show a bright object lying in the Martian dirt, and a closer look suggests the object is a piece of plastic wrapper that has fallen from the robot.

The discovery has put a twist on the rover's current mission to scrub out its soil scoop and take its first sample of Martian dirt for analysis, the 'New Scientist' reported.

However, more bright specks of unidentified matter in the soil -- at first thought to be from Curiosity shedding – may actually be Martian in origin, although what they are is a mystery.

Click NEXT to read further...

 


Image: NASA's Curiosity rover
Photographs: NASA/JPL-Caltech

     Next

PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Curiosity had been in the midst of preparing to feed soil into its chemistry and mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, which bounces thin beams of X-rays off a sample to read its mineral composition.

This involved taking scoopfuls of soil, shaking them vigorously and then dumping them back out, to be sure that any lingering traces of Earthly particles didn't make it into the science equipment.

After the first scoop-and-shake revealed the unexpected object, Curiosity took a quick break to examine the find. It then got back on course, taking a second scoop of soil on October 12.

Click NEXT to read further...

 


Image: Soil clinging to the right middle and rear wheels of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity can be seen after the rover's third drive on Mars in this handout photo courtesy of NASA.
Photographs: Reuters/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout
Tags: , PIX

Prev     Next

PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

But the hole Curiosity dug also contained bright particles, forcing the team to dump the load due to worries that the rover was picking up pieces of its own robotic debris.

Further scrutiny now suggests that at least some of the unidentified particles are in fact native to Mars.

Images show light-toned particles embedded in clumps of excavated soil, implying that they couldn't have been shed by the rover.

Click NEXT to read further...

 


Image: The base of Mars' Mount Sharp taken by the Curiosity rover.
Photographs: Reuters/NASA/Handout
Tags: , PIX

Prev     Next

PIX: Curiosity rover may be littering plastic on Mars

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

NASA is currently preparing to take a third sample from the site as well as more pictures, which should help them figure out whether the bright bits are unwelcome litter or something worthy of delivery to the rover's on-board lab equipment.

 


Photographs: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Tags: NASA , PIX

Prev     Next

TOP photo features of the week

Prev     More

Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...



Tags: PHOTO , MORE , TOP

Prev     More