By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
As the rover Curiosity tries out more of its tools on Mars, surprises emerge on the Red Planet. After using the rover to scooping dirt, scientists saw something unexpected: small bright objects.
At first, they looked man-made and out of place, said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory Project scientist and professor at California Institute of Technology, at a news briefing Thursday.
But upon closer examination, these 1-millimeter flecks – about the size of the granules in the soil – were not uniformly bright and didn't appear to have come from the rover.
"The majority of the science team felt that this might be something that is actually indigenous to Mars," he said.
There are two prevailing theories about what these flecks might be. One is that certain classes of minerals, when broken along a cleavage plane, would have a flat surface that reflects sunlight. Or perhaps they're part of a soil-forming process.
This is probably not connected to the object that Curiosity found last week, which NASA scientists believe was "a shred of plastic material, likely benign."
The images that the rover sends from this location will help scientists come up with more hypotheses about how this area was formed. They will eventually pick a rock for the rover to drill into.
"Beginning with some rocks we studied before the scooping began, and going on now for the several weeks in front of us, those images will help guide us and give the team options of what I’m starting to call tours," he said.
Curiosity is currently situated at the "promised land" of Glenelg , a site of particular scientific interest on the Red Planet because three different kinds of terrain exist there.
For a little over a week, the rover has been sitting at a place called Rocknest, where it has used its scoop three times to pick up Martian material. The rover threw away the first two samples because they were used for cleaning high-tech instruments. Curiosity inserted material from the third sample into an instrument called Chemistry & Mineralogy (CheMin), which will analyze the minerals of which the material is composed.
"The most important thing about our mobile laboratory is that it eats dirt," Grotzinger said.
The rover has been operating on Mars since its spectacular landing on August 6. After Glenelg, it will head to Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high mountain made of layers of sediment. Curiosity will examine these layers for organic molecules, evidence that life could have once existed there.
What we've done on Mars, and what's next
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It certainly looks to me like a gold nugget!
from all the different photos i've (not a geologist) seen, i just have a gut feeling that there was some kind of advanced civilization/buildings existed once and got completely destroyed. i'm sure we'll come to know within the next ten or twenty years or may be sooner.
Picture 10: looks like a pile of broken down CEMENT pieces.
Obviously, it's a scale from a chigoe.
It's a coke bottle top!
THis photo insults IS_lame! I super duper mad now brah!
HMmmm....I wonder if the rover has an Elvis detector aboard, sounds like it ran across a sequin off one of his glittery outfits.
suggest that the bright flecks are gold and americans will figure out how to get there, set up colonies etc in about a year.....and they will gladly fund nasa mars exploration.....be the 21rst century version of the california gold rush...
As old as Mars is, it probably belongs to Sammy Davis Jr. That was way before they called it bling. But bling it is.
Ha, no kidding. And he knew how to wear it. The Rat Pack man, the Rat Pack.
Shucks, I left my watch up there last time I visited ...
it will be great watching the creationists trying to twist logic, and say that the existence of primitive life forms on mars, somehow proves intelligent design here on earth. get the popcorn
after reading some of the comments the game red faction comes to mind
I love the headlines for the Mars rover almost as much as the thing itself.
‘Curiosity Approaches Rock!’
‘Mars Rover Moves 17 Feet in a Week!’
“Rover Examines Rock’
and of course – “Mars Rover Spots Shiny Objects!”
It’s like the thing is someones adorable new kitten, or incredibly average first child.
I hope our descendants look back from other worlds and chuckle – but for now, Curiositys’ presence on Mars really IS truly awesome.
Didnt a couple satellites crash land on mars?
If humanity could find the time to stop admiring themselves in the mirror, WE could truly dedicate the greatest resource available to us, to ADVANCE the entirety of the human race. The mind is what allowed man to ascend to its greatness, and the mind is the only thing that can truly move us forward.
Hope it doesn't find oil...the OBAMINATION will have it shut down in a heartbeat...
So did god make Mars, too?
Yes and he made it just far away enough that the only people smart enough to create and land something on it are the ones that by majority do not believe in him in the first place. Meanwhile, the people that do believe in him and barely understand the Pythagorum theorem complain that the mission is too costly and is of no value just before they try to elect a man President who thinks his underwear wards of evil spirits.
No, God does not like Mars. He like's Cadbury and Nestle. Mars bars are from Satan- devilishly delicious.
I hope they do a shot with the laser on one of these little bits they're seeing. I would DEARLY love to know what they're composed of. They MIGHT be mica, but my money is on iron pyrite. If they could magnify enough, they might be able to tell from the shape of the chrystals what it is. I'll settle for a spectro from the laser, but whatever they do I hope they do it soon because I'm very curious.
While science was expanding our knowledge of our solar system, religion was shooting a young girl in the head for trying to go to school.
That's not nice. Religions don't shoot people, only people who believe in them do. I don't think Muslims have dibs on this one.
Christian nations killed 20 million Christians in WWII. I think your anti-Musllim rant connects dots that aren't there and does it in a way that is highly derogatory. It's not unbiased and if it is biased, it's not science. Sorry Charlie, back to the ocean with the plankton for you. Grow up nice and I will be happy to stuff you in an avocado with plenty of mayo just to cover up the smell.
Newsflash! The entire reason Curiosity is on MARS, is to look for Diamonds and Gold. If none are found, there will be no manned mission to Mars. If they do find it, watch how fast a manned mission to Mars becomes top-priority. Don't expect to be told anything if they do find anything of value up there. It will be a secret. Just like the entire Space Shuttle program was created to put spy satellites in orbit for the NRO and NSA.
Guess I wasn't the only one to ask about the gold angle...
Any gold or diamonds in those shiny flecks.
I love mars!!!
I guess that confirms it people:
The Mars Rover is a female, and probably voted for Obama.
Would somebody explain something to me? How does NASA sucker people into believing that they can transmit photos and/or video from millions of miles away, with no telecom satellite to transmit it (not to mention that the off-the-chart levels of radiation in deep space would literally destroy any such transmission)? For crying out loud, you can't even transmit video across the Atlantic without one. Any takers?
Yeah, i'll bite. No distortions in the vacuum of space. Signals will transmit. Our atmosphere creates distortions. Mars doesn't have much of an atmosphere. I do believe we have a satellite orbiting Mars. The rover relays the signal to the orbiting satellite, and the sat shoots it to a satellite orbiting earth. Wala. You got your images. Now stop crying.
I would like to hear further more information perpetualy on this subject. Thanks, please keep me updated.
These guys know their business but the object in photo # 3 doesn't look natural to me. I think it's one of the chads from the Florida voting machines in 2000.
If those granules turn out to be gold, I predict private space exploration companies will develop warp speed engines, enormous payloads and have a colony on the Red Planet in two years... all without government assistance whatsoever.
I see it, I see it !!! It's a beer can.
True! But it's empty. Wanna know where the natives went? Simple. Follow the beer stains on shirts. That would be Southern Republicans watching football.
I wonder sometimes about NASA's disclosure...
Like, if they found alien life or some proof of alien intelligence, would they tell the American public?
You all just don't understand. Curiosity is not really on Mars. These pictures are being beamed to us from the back yard of Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Regional Office in Yemen, where all those American jobs got outsourced to. Every time you click on one of these "Mars" photos, 5 cents goes into Mitt's Swiss bank account. Ryan just gets a penny..........
For those who are interested, bring lots of tanks of water. You will need some!
I see a face! Picture number 9 (the ancient flowing stream), just left of center. It looks like a face has been carved into the pinnacle of the rock formation. Does anyone else see that?
Bahahah first paragraph in... "After using the rover to scooping dirt..." L2Proofread.
Tea Party Patriots, especially those living in the south, love shiny little objects. They really like it when the shiny little objects go around in circles. That's why they invented nascar.
Mars Rover finds "a shred of plastic material, likely benign."
Oh oh – does that mean there there aliens there before ? Best set phasers on stun.
Items that probably belongs to Marvin the Martian
looks like used Trojans to me.
We the people will now proclaim this planet the property of NASA, its now open for business. First order of the day, Hotels and Casinos.
send obama there, America weill be better off by subtraction....
^^^Republican Rocket Scientist^^^
Thinking about this stuff drives me crazy! A robot is getting to touch material that we most likely never will in our lifetimes. We can't pick up this stuff and examine it with our own eyes. So frustrating!
Ray, if that drives you crazy and frustrates you, please get medical supervision asap. Please do not drive in Los Angeles or plan a plane trip- not even to Missouri.
Flavor Flav's grill?
Most rappers have at least one gold toof in their mouf.
I don't know why people are so passionate on Navada desert pictures.
It's Brigham Young's gold tablets. And Nevada has an "e" in it you Moroni!
NASA, say that you found Gold. Then make an announcement that you need funding for a few more years to research how to mine, extract and transport it back. You will have a dozen companies ready to endorse the space program. You will never have to worry about Federal Funding Cuts again.
So, what about the plastic piece they found? Are they going to just start trashing up Mars, too? Why don't we just send all the plastic bottles in the ocean to Mars, while we are at it.
Mars seems to be a cold dead world unless we transform it to be more like earth which i don't see environmentalist allowing its value to the future is limited. there maybe planets out there more suitable for humans where earth like habitats and ecosystems might survive. we have to start thinking of colony ships where people could survive a 5 to 10 year one way journey
Why in the world should we go and trash Mars? Let's finish trashing it down here first. Got any silly string?
What most people cannot comprehend is the dynamics and complicity of performing controlled analysis on substances in a lab, then attempting to repeat the procedure via remote control to another planet. I don't believe many people appreciate the efforts made for this mission to be a success. But then, many people take for granted the simple wonder a blade of grass...
your right. man if albert einstine was still alive he would be blow away
His name was ALBERT FEINSTEIN already!
Merlin, from what I learned in geology at UT I am putting my money on this turning out to be iron pyrite. The conditions that I've seen so far at least would seem to lean toward the formation of that mineral. It's POSSIBLE it could be mica but I don't think so.
Hmmm... a piece of plastic and tiny shiny objects on the Martian surface... ET's poop looks exotic.
Larry I'm sorry but you really can't expect anything different from the caliber of people who post in here. They are wingnuts who are obsessed with politics and don't care what the forum subject really is. To them, it's just a blank space where they can trumpet their crazy politics.
Despite most of the comments posted. It is probably not gold or diamonds, nor is it where Mitt Romney is hiding money. More than likely it is a silicon based mineral, either quartz or even more likely Mica.
Clete I doubt seriously that this is mica. On Mars it is MUCH more likely to be iron pyrite.
Good catch..oxygen in the early atmosphere would have combined with iron to produce iron pyrites, which do shine in the light.
Where have you guys been? Everyone in the universe knows that little green men from Mars crapped copper.
It appears some folks just can't help making political comments. I, for one, would prefer a more stimulating scientific discussion and leave political comments to more appropriate topic posts. We should be very interested in the results gathered by the rover. Since space technology innovation has been the forefront of technological advances, it would seem logical to continue these efforts for both science and technology. I'm very curious to see what the analysis yields.
I know it's sad but this is what happens rednecks have computers.
No rednecks have smart phones. Only throwbacks have computers now.
The implications of finding an ancient waterbed on another planet are really incredible. No longer can any logical person say, with confidence, that Earth is the only place that houses life. While we may not have found life on Mars, we have found evidence of the next best thing – the foundation upon which it is build.
And the rover has only been there for a couple of months!
I am beginning to think there is not much on Mars.
They're just those "old school" soda and beer can pull tabs.
I think they found a few cigarette butts up there recently.
Mars have a potential for human next LIVE..
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Isn't your nephew still in jail?
An ancient dump...Same stuff someone will find on earth someday...
Probably right...does the Mars stuff say Made in China too?
LOL thats funny! :D
I hope they're diamonds so we can slave labor and kill people for those too. Lord knows we can't have enough bling! Silly humans. ;(
humans are so foolish. killing your own race for cash putrate filth
i do say that is true but dont be crule to us about it, be crule to mitt romney hes the one hideing all his crap there
But it's shiny! Gotta have! Maybe they can make better iphone's with it?
what ever it is, shoot it with the laser.
Hey guys. its just me being shiny and all. Hope y'all don't come here and try to uproot me and my family.
Wondering why they chose a 1909 penny for the calibration target. Any thoughts?
psssshh, you don't think NASA would use a cheaper 2001 penny do you? Remember this is $20,000 for a hammer NASA we're talking about here...surprised they didn't used a 1804 silver dollar.
I can only think that this was for some symbolic reason but for what exactly I don't know. I do that the 1909 s Victor D. Brenner penny is worth quite a bit money, and is quite rare.
right, which is why it makes no sense to me. NASA just likes to blow money on rare pennies to send to Mars?? In some way that wouldn't surprise me. My guess is that this is a subtle clue that this is all fake. Either that or space travel reverses time and the penny lost 102 years!
Nah. I don't think it's fake, but I DO agree that it's stupid to waste an expensive coin like that. I wouldn't have done it myself but they didn't ask MY opinion on what they should used as a calibration target. I think I could have come up with something a little better though.
man this on earth and they are yanking our chain
Shrapnel from Superman II
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