NASA’s Curiosity Rover Spots A Shiny Object On Mars

Posted: Dec 2 2018, 1:23am CST | by , Updated: Dec 2 2018, 1:25am CST, in Latest Science News


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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Spots a Shiny Object on Mars
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dubbed "Little Colonsay," the object is believed to be a meteorite.

NASA's Curiosity rover appears to have stumbled across yet another shiny object on Mars. The newfound object has been given the informal name "Little Colonsay” and has attracted the attention of scientists when Curiosity was drilling Highfield site on Mars. While not yet confirmed, the rock is suspected to be a meteorite. Researchers have decided to go get a closer look at the shiny rock and determine its exact nature.

“The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny. But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry.” Curiosity team members wrote in an update to the mission’s blog.

Curiosity rover has found many remarkable objects since landing on the surface of Mars in 2012. Most recent object was captured by rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. As the name suggests, ChemCam is a combination of two different instruments. Its camera snaps extremely detailed images, while its laser analyzes the elemental composition of materials. In other words, ChemCam provides not only a close-up of an object, but also a chance for chemical analysis.

“ChemCam is very busy these two sols, as in addition to the dump pile activities, it will look at four samples, two of which are re-targeted. One of the samples that we try to get a better look at is "Little Colonsay." Another very small target is the target "Flanders Moss," which shows an interesting, dark colored coating, for which chemistry is required to confirm its nature,” statement reads. “Two additional targets, "Forres" and "Eildon," are to add to the database of the grey Jura bedrock before we leave the Highfield site next week.”

Finding unusual rocks on Mars surface are exciting because examination of these rocks can provide more information about the Martian atmosphere. Curiosity has already determined that Mars once had conditions favorable for microbial life. By analyzing rocks or potential meteorites, researchers are hoping to investigate how ancient environmental conditions changed over time.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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