October 18th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Mars rover spots shiny objects

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

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (595 Responses)
  1. kwood

    Dear Rover, please pick up your trash. Love, Mars

    October 19, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  2. dbyres

    It looks like burnt up space junk.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  3. MollyBee

    This is absolutely amazing! Sometimes it takes "extraordinary" things to jerk us out of our selfish little worlds, make us realize how small and insignificant we are in the "big scheme" and bring us down to earth (pun intended).

    October 19, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Clamsthecat

      Did you really need to point out the pun for us?

      October 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  4. rare_earth

    These shiny objects tun out to be another of Romney's offshore accounts.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Clooje

      The human race sends eyes and ears to Mars, but all some people can do is spin it politically? Disappointing.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  5. Syd

    If there turns out to be gold up there, I'm gonna LOVE all the people saying trips to Mars are a waste clamoring to stake their claims.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • gold digger

      If there IS gold there, do you really think you or anyone but the govt will get any?

      October 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • BigBootyHoe

      If they did find gold up there and brought it back to earth, gold would actually lose value because of a larger supply.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • archangel phoeix

      Diamonds are nice... Humans don't make trips for nothing... Question who is first to live on Mars..

      October 19, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • bugmenot

      Any of yous gold fools think what it would cost to bring any back?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  6. faceplam

    Good lord... Half of these responses are staggeringly stupid. I'll be the first to volunteer to go on a one way pioneer mission to Mars. I need to get away from the mouth-breathers that have overran this planet.

    Jesus Christ, people.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Bodybuilder

      "...mouth-breathers that have overRUN this planet", not "overrun". You need to use proper English, man.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • MikeA

      First you need to learn how to construct a sentence, smart guy.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Bodybuilder

      not "overran"

      October 19, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • lolol

      you won't be missed.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • The pacific

      Jesus does not know English, ok people?

      October 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • cdubb1545

      Hope you meet him while you're there!

      October 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  7. Spencer

    Thus begins the Mars gold rush.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  8. mahesh

    i aint no science expert, but by looking at those pictures it shows the availability of water in the soil, hence supporting some kind of life form. im so 'curious' about this space mission!

    October 19, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Space Traveler

      There was life on Mars. All the stupid people moved to Earth and the smart people moved to a new galaxy!

      October 19, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  9. tez07

    They're actually cookbooks (insert woman screaming sound)!!!!

    October 19, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  10. Dino

    Shine on you crazy diamond! DeBeers has your number.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  11. Bill

    It would be great if they were diamonds. Mars, full of diamonds. Suddenly, every idiot earthling that spent thousands of dollars on diamonds would intantly realize now they're worth next to nothing.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • Mr. Steve

      and why would they all of a sudden be worth nothing. It's not like they can just be shipped back to Earth.


      October 19, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • bobmc

      Yep, I think it is proof Liberace was the first man on mars and dropped a few sequins.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • A

      Diamonds aren't exactly rare on earth either. Their cost is artificial.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
      • tet1953

        They already found a planet that is mostly made out of diamond.

        October 19, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • cdubb1545

      I'm glad to see you understand the basic principle of economics. The demand creates the NEED for a supply, in essence, the CONSUMER drives the market. So remind me again, "Who are the job creators?".

      October 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  12. Lumn

    Now we just need to find some natives to collect them for us.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Naw, the natives would probably be dirty, primitive boarder jumpers.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  13. Big Man

    Suddenly -Zionistas- are claiming they made a mistake, Palestine was not their ancestral home it was the red planet with gold a-plenty. It is clearly stated in the bible, by god. They're planning to build a rickety spaceship post haste, with US taxpayers subsidies.

    October 19, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • dbyres

      looks like space junk that burnt up in orbit

      October 19, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • idono

      Holy anti-semitism batman....Hatred much?

      October 19, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Sam

      It seems like you might be slightly re-tarded....better get to a hospital........no such place as "palestine" never was........typical muslime, trying to bring up the middle east when we are talking about finding materials on mars.....P.S, Israel is rich, dont need to steal from anyone, they create their own things, most nobel priozes per capita than any other country in the world......1 billion muslims, have almost none........go back to your tent and eat with your hands....

      October 19, 2012 at 9:30 am |
      • And the Winner Is..

        A retard is not someone who was "tarded" twice.. it comes from latin, you knave.

        October 19, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  14. Tom

    "The most important thing about our mobile laboratory is that it eats dirt"
    So, a useless piece of sh!t...

    October 19, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  15. Oneal

    One may wonder what kind and what amount of natural resources it would take for mars colonization timetable to be a priority of humanity, Very interesting time to be alive. Even if researchers find something theres no way to get there and back with a haul of martian natural gas that will exist in my lifetime. Still, its pretty cool!

    October 19, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  16. The TRUTH!!!

    Look like Gold to me... or some kind of metal or polished rock

    October 19, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Veegan

      Looks more like a foil wrapper from a condom.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:23 am |
    • John

      My first guess would be some sort of silica particles. If you look at sand formed from weathered quartz, there will be lots of small, bright reflections.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • Rick Shultz

        Could be a sillicate, but it looks more like iron pyrite to me than anything else.

        October 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  17. Dave

    Donald Trump's hair piece ?

    October 19, 2012 at 6:48 am |
  18. Dave

    Its Mitt Romney's tax returns !

    October 19, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • JR

      It's your mother's diagphram. She gets/got around.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • JCDavis

      Nah. Romney paid the blackmail. We'll never see those returns.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • John Pemberton

      No, but you are on the right track... that is part of John Kerry's fortune – acquired the old-fashioned way... thru marriage

      October 19, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Jose

      It's your mom's dentures.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  19. BYEYAFreaks

    I can't stand an extremist trying to shove their philosophy down our throats.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  20. Ripley

    Oh, that's where I left my keys, thanks!

    October 19, 2012 at 6:40 am |
  21. Knopf

    I think they should dig down to ground water

    October 19, 2012 at 6:30 am |
  22. JomoDaMusicMan

    GOLD ON MARS!!! ALL WHITE PEOPLE LEAVE EARTH & GO TO MARS, THERE'S GOLD THERE PLUS SILVER & DIAMONDS. But after you arrive on Mars stay there and keep your gold& other precious minerals there because if brought back to earth if will cause the destruction of the EARTH & will cause gold & other precious minerals prices to drop 1500% here on earth

    October 19, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • sweepster

      No, No, No, shiny objects catch voters eye distracting voters attention from real issues here on earth. Politicians once again pat each other on back. Job well done!!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:31 am |
      • Bob Carlson

        Don't be an idiot. You must be some kind of person who thinks about the many conspiracy theories floating around out there too.

        October 19, 2012 at 6:55 am |
      • sweepster

        What a dimwit! No fun on the internet for you, right???

        October 19, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • lmao

      good one!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • nd68

      There are crazies, and there are lunatics. Might just be the latter, chief.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • angryersmell

      Don't be silly. You know it won't stay in Mars. You could guarentee with mountains of evidence that it would destroy the Earth inside 5 years and millions would still dedicate their lives to building homemade rockets to haul it back here as quickly as possible.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Malph Ralph

      Bringing it back to Earth will just cause black people to try to steal it all to make bling.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • LMAO!!!

      LMAO!!!!! trust me,we would love to leave!!!! ...Thanks for the laugh this morning..!! This beautiful planet would be gone with in a week if we weren't here,blacks would end up killing one another for eachothers gold! Oh ya..I rest my case on how stupid you are...did you read what you wrote,not the content,but how you sound like a 2nd grader wrote that!...Yep,with in a week...LMAO!!

      October 19, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • madc1

      Nice math, you Obama's accountant? How does something drop 1500%? If it did you'd probably blame Bush

      October 19, 2012 at 7:41 am |
      • jbcal

        Naw, bush would agree with the math.

        October 19, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Owl96

      Of course there is gold on Mars. Elements come from stars. There is every reason to believe that every element on Earth is also on Mars. Diamonds are another matter. There very well may be, but those here are from precess in the Earth that may or may not be duplicated on Mars.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
      • BoThome

        Why wouldn't there be diamonds on Mars? Are diamonds not a particular form of carbon that is naturally created when compressed and heated under the surface of a planet?

        Given carbon is one of the most abundant elements, it stands to reason that it's spread across this solar system / galaxy on various planets and/or asteroids that occasionally hit those planets.

        October 19, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • A

      That's racist.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • johnnyb

      What a bigot. Very sad, very sad indeed.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  23. Allen N Wollscheidt

    Someone asked (words to the effect), "What is the purpose of all this ?"

    Elementary ! . Quite elementary !

    The purpose is to induce many of you anti-science cretins to briefly roll out from under your little gray stones : They now know who and where you are so that you can be "asked" to report for "The Science Inquistion" coming up soon in a suitably equipped INQ-SCI Chamber near you !

    /grin ?/

    October 19, 2012 at 6:19 am |
    • Randy


      October 19, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  24. Xanatos

    Where is the image of the shining object NASA found....why didn't they show us?

    October 19, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Albert911emt`

      You're kidding, right? It is image #3 in the collection above. Duh.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:24 am |
  25. Muhammed

    Maashallah – we shall claim Mars and establish an Islamic civilization there before the evil Amerikans take over! Alhamdulillah!

    October 19, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • theBmoll

      GREAT IDEA...! We can send all you religious freaks there and planet Earth can finally join the 21st Century!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:16 am |
    • Roadking

      We will save a spot for you on the next flight!!!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • u1st

      hopefully you will be the lead element.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:11 am |
    • Sam

      Send all mus lims to Mars, earth will be peaceful and mars will become a cesspool

      October 19, 2012 at 9:35 am |
      • eric

        Follow them up with fundamentaliat Christians and you have a deal.

        October 19, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Uncle Stumpy


      Also: this was not posted by an actual follower of that religion. This was posted by a white American "Chrustian" who is trying to spread negative PR by adopting a dumb online disguise. I can promise you this.

      And it worked on all of you.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • Rick Shultz

        Actually Uncle Stumpy, not ALL of us bit. Some of us do know a slack-eyed silly A** troll when we see one. I'm kind of disappointed that there are so many, but I guess I should have expected it. Still, when the trolls are away the adults can play.
        I love the images they have gotten of this new bit of terrain. I would like to see the science team do a laser shot on one of those granules, and see what the spectrum looks like. I'm thinking mica or iron pyrite and I'm leaning heavily towards iron pyrite.

        October 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  26. Beelzebub

    "Mars rover spots shiny objects"

    In related news, Apple fanboys are lining up outside Johnson Space Center to be first in line to buy the new products. Whatever they are.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:05 am |
  27. maltesefalconx9

    After exterminating the Martians, the Jews left the "shiny stuff" behind when they escaped to Earth to take over by mental telepathy 10,000 years ago. It's a trick. The "shiny stuff"is just worthless plastic. But...ahahaha...you fools have spent 2 bnillion dollars searching for it.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  28. Josef Bleaux

    Looks like a gold nugget. GOLD in them thar hills! Let's go get it boys!

    October 19, 2012 at 6:03 am |

    GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS! First the bad news: life found on mars - martians colonize the united states. Now for the good news: martians eat chicago machine democrats, burn saul alinsky books for heat, and excrete fossil fuel.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:41 am |
  30. Name*howie

    2.4 billion? While children and familes go hungry. Nice going govt. Low lifes!

    October 19, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • damon

      Low life? You have money for the Internet. You have time to view and read stupid articles. I doubt your children are going hungry. If they are, ought you be out working (or trying to) to pay for their food?

      October 19, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • Dave

      The money did not go to Mars. The money paid the salaries of all the men and women who worked on the program, so that they could pay for housing and food for themselves and their families.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • Cadiz

      Over $500 million for Solyndra which was already well on its way to failure before the loan, nice going government.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • R.A. Olivieri

      Dave is correct, the money did not go to Mars. The money pays the salaries of all the men and women who ARE working and continue to work in the project plus all the hardware required. In addition, the advancement in technology probably will be applicable to many fields (e.g., communication, chemistry, medicine, etc.)

      October 19, 2012 at 6:06 am |
      • ronjon

        Wait, the government doesn't create jobs!!!!!!!

        October 19, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • theBmoll

      2.4 is NOTHING compared to the waste of war and debt...get real! ***NEWSFLASH*** Howie...people don't eat money...the world produces enough calorific intake to feed the worlds population 1.9 times over. Hunger doesn't just 'happen'...it is manufactured.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Name*cessna210g

      I can't stand people that think that the space program is a waste of money. The space program is probably one of the best investment the country does. The program has made so many spinoffs of technology. For example computers, GPS, weather satellites.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  31. John

    We must leave the earth, before Iran gets its nuclear weapon, or else they might need the rover to find civilization on the earth.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • pam

      That was a good one. LMAO!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  32. nuff said

    They are Diamonds-–now the secret is out–the surface of mars is littered with diamonds as has been told in ancient texts. So now you know why we are really there.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • Knowledge

      Diamond values are way over inflated because companies horde them and only release them in small amounts each year. It is in fact a diamond cartel. From what I understand cubic Zirconia is more rare when found naturally although it is manufactured.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:50 am |
      • Cadiz

        You are exactly right. What even makes it worse was all of the hype on 'blood diamonds' was bought and paid for by DeBeers in order to stop a source that was outside of their control from hurting their market. It never had anything to do with the 'poor miners' who were kept as 'slaves' by warlords.

        October 19, 2012 at 6:10 am |
  33. Hollywood

    What is the point of all this?

    October 19, 2012 at 5:24 am |
    • mikes

      To keep scientists out of the unemployment line, of course. Beyond that, it does help add to the budget deficit, and keeps some people amused.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • sasss31

      It is called science. Learn to appreciate it.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:40 am |
    • theBmoll

      If you need to ask then you will probably never be able to understand...

      October 19, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Cadiz

      Go back to your sofa and watching your 'Friends' reruns while the adults out here continue to work on advancing science and giving you new gadgets to keep you entertained.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:47 am |
      • Veegan

        Wow, all this nastiness over a shiny object on Mars. How's everyone going to react if they find traces of life?

        October 19, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  34. Stephen

    ooooooh shiny! The worlds most expensive dune buggy might actually be earning its keep

    October 19, 2012 at 5:20 am |
  35. HamsterinTubes

    They didn't clean up from the last hoax landing.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  36. nokoolaidcowboy

    I claim gold in them 'thar hills!

    [just in case]

    October 19, 2012 at 5:02 am |
  37. Keksi

    Whats up with Masonic checkered pattern on rover???

    October 19, 2012 at 5:01 am |
  38. Slupdawg

    Gum wrappers and soda can pull tabs

    October 19, 2012 at 4:55 am |
  39. usmc1999

    the coin is 'Tails". the rover defers to the second half.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:52 am |
    • Owl96

      Opportunity chooses to defend the north goal.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  40. dan

    It has been confirmed. It was Joe Biden's gold tooth.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:51 am |
  41. Marney_5

    Why do I get the image of the Mars Rover riding across the landscape going "Me see shiny shiny!"... I've been watching too many Dreamworks films!

    October 19, 2012 at 4:35 am |
  42. Jim McDonald

    It's just the shreds of the last creatures that came to visit...

    October 19, 2012 at 3:53 am |
  43. David

    When you zoom in, it is very interesting, because it does not look very natural for the area, like it is man made... Maybe the rover is falling a part?

    October 19, 2012 at 3:06 am |
    • p-medic4

      Do you even know what your talking about? The rover uses scoops of soils to clean its measuring devices with high heat and compression,that is why there is a different shape and color. Are there really this many slow people in America, or do they all just sit at home and leave posts online?

      October 19, 2012 at 3:33 am |
      • mark

        Sadly, you are correct. Schools have been dumbed down and the right wants them dumber still, by far. They can't tolerate all them "facts", nor people who can actually "think". Look at some of the republican clowns on the science and intelligence committees in congress...


        October 19, 2012 at 6:37 am |
      • Cadiz

        Not to mention the Dems who sit around complaining about any spending on science while chatting on their iPhones.

        October 19, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  44. Bodge Fodge

    This is the beginning....soon all will be realized. Judas Priest was right in their musings.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:29 am |
  45. Cable412

    I see a lot of complaining about how "Curiosity" is a waste of tax payer money, but do you realize the new technology that is created by NASA from doing such studies? A lot of the new tech is used in everyday activities whether you realize it or not.

    Secondly if we would tax religion we could send 24 Mars Rovers a year!!!! 24!! That is one Mars Rover every other week for a year, as studies have shown that religious tax exemption exceed $71 Billion dollars a year, and the Mars Rover cost $2.5 Billion.

    Sources http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=fi&page=cragun_32_4

    October 19, 2012 at 2:19 am |
    • SixDegrees

      That $2.5 billion for the Curiosity mission is spread over 10 years; the annual cost varies, but the average is $250 million.

      I have no idea where you're getting your church taxation figures; those sound like pure vapor.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • theBmoll

      Excellently elucidated C412...! Reassuring to note that not ALL posters are bereft of reason and logic!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  46. Max

    Kind of shocking we don`t see any articles about the European astronomers who discovered an earth sized planet at Alpha Centauri. And have data suggesting their might be more planets there. While the planet is too close to the star and thus too hot for life it is the closest star system to earth. Finding a planet so close is like winning the Jack Pot. NASA has called it the most important planetary discovery in a decade. Where are the CNN articles. Real science on CNN`s `lightyears` website. What a complete joke CNN has become.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Oh Really?

      Then you aren't very observant because I read a couple of articles on CNN about that topic.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • blindbatman

      you blind? i got home work for you, find your own planet.


      October 19, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • rtbrno65

      What are you talking about? CNN has had articles about that. Are they supposed to not report on anything else from now on?

      October 19, 2012 at 6:37 am |
  47. usetocare

    About 10 years ago I was excited about Mars missions. Lately, I have come to realize that nothing exciting will happen for about another 50+ years... It's a very slow industry. Forget about it. Maybe when you are a 90 year old man on your deathbed they might do something worthy of news. Until then.. nothing

    October 19, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Bodge Fodge

      Perhaps....best to to lleave Earth's problems to those who have already observed the passage of time through Light Speed for in the blink of an eye their expectations could be tested up until they deduce the proper Machinery of Hell

      October 19, 2012 at 2:35 am |
  48. surfdog

    Looks like modern day Palmdale or Lancaster, but nicer.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • Synthetically Thought...

      Further evidence of another Romney tax shelter: a busted treasure chest of silver coins?

      October 19, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  49. big al

    They have never landed on the Moon, and curiosity rover never landed on Mars, either. Such images are either from the Western Desert (Egypt) and/or the Death Valley, Nevada, U.S.A.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Danny

      I think you have your tin-foil hat on a little to tightly.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:34 am |
      • chris

        lol i agree with you... that guy is still in the dark ages

        October 19, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • David Boyer

      I really thought earth imaging of the moon would end this argument .... guess not.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:59 am |
      • Rick Shultz

        Nope. Conspiracy nuts will hang on to a theory forever. Even after it's been completely de-bunked. 99% of them don't really believe there was a conspiracy of any sort. They do it simply to make nuisances of themselves. They are narcicists. It's all about them. The other 1% are just crazy.

        October 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • BJ

      If they find a beer can or zip top me might be right!!!

      October 19, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • Major Tom

      Death Valley is in California. At least get a 5th grade education before spewing crap out of your trap.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:53 am |
      • SilentBoy741

        No, it's Death Valley, Nevada – the Death Valley in California was faked by the USGS.

        October 19, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Chris

      Thanks Big Al, for your insiders perspective. Evidence?

      October 19, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • theBmoll

      Hey Al.... the 'big' in your name certainly doesn't apply to your intellect now does it?!

      October 19, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • rtbrno65

      What I wonder is why it's so important to people who think this way to believe that all of this stuff is being faked.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:43 am |
      • Rick Shultz

        Dude, if you ever come up with a viable answer to THAT question you will be filthy rich, because the embarassed relatives of these fools will pay you zillions to cure them...LOL

        October 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  50. big al

    They have never landed on the moon, and curiosity rover never landed on Mars either. Such images are either from the Western Desert (Egypt) and/or the Death Valley, Nevada, U.S.A

    October 19, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Ben

      The internet doesn't exist either, this is just really bright paper.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • rtbrno65

      You need to get your head out of Uranus.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • Rick Shultz

      Jeez....I didn't think there were any conspiracy wingnuts left in this forum. I guess they crawl out of the woodwork everywhere. Why don't you and Bart Sibrel go back into your mother's basement and put your tinfoil hats back on and just commune with each other and let the rest of us have an adult conversation?

      October 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  51. jayman419

    Seems pretty obvious. The ancient cities of Barsoom have been ground to dust by the relentless Martian winds.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  52. Paul Davies

    I wonder if a Gold Strike would spark another Gold Rush – did wonders for Australia in the 1850s. Population blew out 6 times that of 1851. Could open up Mars for people...

    October 19, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • jkflipflop

      The problem then becomes "how do you get it back?". Gold is REALLY heavy. It takes a lot of rocket fuel to land a gold brink on the Earth.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Major Tom

      Yeah, except for the little detail that the transportation will cost at least 100 times the value of any gold a spacecraft can bring back. Mars is not exactly Australia.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  53. Miked

    Oh, come in! They've kept ruins of ancient Martian temples under wraps for the opportune time to reveals it's "latest discovery" that will rewrite the books of the known history of our solar system. They are just getting themselves ahead of the game in setting up the stage for when the investors would gladly give billions more to a discovery that what is hidden iand well known to the few. For example: look up ancient ruins conspiracy on the moon on you tube. Time to get real people!

    October 19, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • TheComedian

      Anyone who uses colloquial expressions like "get real" sounds like a grade-A class preacher from the city streets begging for change.

      October 19, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  54. cpinfl

    Anyone that thinks this is a waste of money (as they type from a computer containing advancements from the space program) is dumber than a box of (martian) rocks.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  55. Cinjim

    Canada and other countries contributed to the NASA Curiosity Rover.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  56. Motoman

    NASA is desperate to keep the millions of dollars flowing. They will do anything to generate a story that creates interest in their billion dollar toy robot experiment. Expect more stories like this in the days/months to come.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • the dude

      youre an idiot. its obvious from your pea sized brain.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • SilentBoy741


      October 19, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  57. vatossan

    it's martian poop!

    October 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  58. dano

    Image 4: peanuts covered in cocoa powder, and a piece of corn husk.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  59. matt

    $2.5 billion for a ADHD rover...

    October 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  60. gliese 42

    Great work NASA and too bad Obama isn't interested in it.

    October 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • blindbatman

      you monkeys call him a socialist. if you could pull your head out of your rear end you would know that the first privately owned space ship docked at the international space station last week, on contract for nasa. if you are not too retarded to find that story........ just copy and paste the link below, so you don't poke your eye out trying to find it.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Sam

      obama cut NASA since they did not want to cooperate with muslim countries which he demanded.....

      October 19, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  61. 2Bob

    As a non-American I just want to say to my friends in the US you should be very proud of what NASA has achieved here. Inspiring and a reflection of what you can achieve. That aside some of the comments here are rather humorous.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Bill

      2Bob: That was a very nice post. I thank you for the men and women who made this possible.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
      • Robert

        Thank mitt Romney for the binders he provided to find the women involved

        October 19, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  62. bro

    more than likely a beer can

    October 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  63. waste of tax dollars

    Sounds like WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS and found one shiney object turn out to be spacecraft debris. Nothing interesting is found in MARS. Just all rocks. COLLECT ROCKS.

    Better way to collect rocks is go to BEACH or GRAND CANYON.

    October 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • TheBob

      The waste of money is whatever it cost to raise a worthless illiterate m0r0n like you. If you had the ability to read you'd know the shiny object is not spacecraft debris. Idi0ts like you will never understand the reason for scientific exploration. And idi0ts like you don't get to comment on how tax money is spent because very likely they're not the ones paying any of it.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • TheOne

        Well said!
        Thank you, TheBod.

        October 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
      • John M.

        I guess TheBob is praising George W. because Obama hasn't done jack when it comes to space exploration.

        October 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • waste of tax dollars

      You can find Gold in Alaska and some parts of the world. Plus, earth is huge. Bigger than Google Map..

      $2.5 billion on mars mission. There is no Gold, Diamond, Oil, Iron, Sliver, Platinum, Copper, etc. Just Rocks. What a waste. If you press 1. No one wants BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS. I can buy plastic kodak color camera for $1.20 at walmart or rite aid.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
      • thawesomness

        waste of tax dollars u r wrong
        this is a great find and u have to try and trash it
        this could be part of an alien ship, this could lead us to ET lifeforms

        October 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • Gurdip

        You are most definitely an illiterate m0ron.

        October 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
      • Harlequinn

        Yes, such a waste on all this scientific exploration mumbo-jumbo. All that "advancing our knowledge of how planets are formed" and "figuring out how to expand human presence onto other worlds so that we can grow our civilization" is nonsense. That money is much better spent on things like, oh, say, supporting an invasion into a foreign country to pillage their natural resourced for fun and profit. $2.6 Billion dollars! Why, that's almost a whole WEEK of killing! Further destabilization of an already unsteady part of the world and fueling generations of hatred for the Western World is a MUCH better investment into our future! /end

        October 19, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Harlequinn

        And in case there was any confusion, yes that comment WAS dripping sarcasm and unremitting contempt for willful stupidity...

        October 19, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • JohnK

      I'll bet you don't believe in evolution or global warming, either. Thankfully, Luddites like you aren't in charge.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Denverdriver

      You probably couldn't find your way to the beach or the Grand Canyon.

      October 19, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  64. Yorkbuster

    May I use some of photos of this article on my newspaper in Taiwan? Should I pay any fee and how? This is my news networks website link:http://www.anntw.com/awakening/ Please tell me, thank you!

    October 18, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Thomas C.

      Since you asked nicely, as an American citizen and taxpayer, you have my permission.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I suspect NASA photos are in the public domain. You should give credit though.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  65. Walter Johnson

    Because Opportunity is nuclear powered, it is likely to not last much past its lifetime unless it has some method of supplementing the nuclear power such as with solar panels so that when the nuclear power starts to fall the difference can be at least partially made up with supplemental solar power. The exceptions to that might be if they over engineered the power supply to be able to produce more current than actually needed. The amount and type of nuclear fuel will otherwise determine how long it can generate enough power to continue operations. if no supplemental power source is designed into the craft. All the other rovers needed was the right wind to clean the dust off the solar panels, although as I recall one eventually was functionally lost when a wheel was damaged which limited its potential speed and maneuvering to get out of a small depression. The Curiosity would need a big obstacle to have a similar problem. NASA could also have just based its estimate of the craft's operational life based on purely budget reasons, such as the money set aside to pay the staff who deal with the Opportunity from Earth, or it may have statistically determined the failure rate for classes of critical components that Opportunity has no backup for. NASA would rather surprise the public with a longer operational period for Opportunity than make a poor guess on the craft's life expectancy and disappoint the public. Who knows there may be men who have taken two years off from their job just to follow everything Opportunity does and to make suggestions to NASA. Everyone needs a hobby after all.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • cpinfl

      According to Pete Theisinger, MSL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the batteries could last 10 to 15 years.

      October 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  66. a slozomby

    im expecting to see the headline "Mars Rover barks at self in mirror" pretty soon.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Walter Johnson

      That is not very imaginative for a craft with no bark. Try coming up with a storyline first that gives Opportunity a bark.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • FedUpTwo

        Wouldn't "knock" at least once.

        October 19, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  67. Major Tom

    I know what that is. Last time I was there I dropped some loose change as I was climbing back into my ship. I noticed it, but it wasn't worth climbing back down to pick it up. Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  68. dinh nguyen

    Someone dropped a dime!

    October 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  69. archangel phoeix

    I claim all the planets and all in space...GOD bless all his creations

    October 18, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • GOD

      Who gave you authority to claim my creations? It's greedy little twits like you who draw my wrath every now and then. You're lucky I'm not in a p!ssy mood today.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
      • theBmoll

        god! FINALLY decided to show up huh!? You...me... carpark...NOW!

        October 19, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  70. Mohamed ABBAZI

    The landscape looks like our desert in Morocco. A billion thanks for the american taxpayer to further help us know our universe better. Shoukrane.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • ldlorenz

      la shukran ala wajib

      October 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • John Sheridan

      Though we do appreciate your thanks, we would be grateful for any money you could send us to help pay for this excursion.

      - The US Taxpayers

      October 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
      • Robert

        I am Nigerian prince .i can send you $6 million to fund NASA .Get in touch

        October 19, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • Danny

      Darn Mohamed, if we knew you were just looking for a few good snapshots, we probably could have paid some dude for gas and a 6 pack to drive out over to Alamogordo with his cell phone...

      October 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • adinfinitum7

      ahlan WA sahlan. أهلا وسهلا

      October 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  71. abc

    poop you

    October 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  72. Orb4

    Thank God you found my car keys! I told my wife they must be on Mars but she wouldn't believe me.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  73. Caihlyn

    Comments meant to entertain but convey no intelligence originate in America. Sad loss of scientific literacy. And to think, we were a first world nation once.

    October 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Michael

      We usata was 😉

      October 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • adinfinitum7

      Just getting ready for Romney to lead us back to the stone age.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  74. tct

    Bright shiny objects, that could distract people who parrot political pundits staring for years!

    October 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  75. Dave

    A fragment of shocked quartz, perhaps?

    October 18, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • steveo

      Shocked Quartz is a possibility, but more than likely it is just a mica, probably muscovite.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:27 am |
      • Animalbangdrum

        Thank you. Can't believe I went through that many comments before seeing a post with the most plausible answer.

        October 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
      • Rick Shultz

        Actually it's MUCH more likely to be iron pyrite. Now before you scoff, think about it. You have an ancient atmosphere that very likely had a significant amount of oxygen, you have volcanism as evidenced by many volcanoes so you have iron on or near the surface in abundance, and lastly you had water flowing freely as evidenced by the conglomerates that we're seeing. Now you have to ask yourself what would be more likely to happen here? Sillicates? Or oxides and iron pyrite?
        I'm not saying sillicates would be impossible. They DO occur in all three rock types igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary, but given the conditions I think iron pyrite would be the most likely result.

        October 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  76. snookiessneekas

    OMG, where is the Discovery channel? I can see it now: Goldrush, MARS. Let's go!

    October 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Allan

      The discovery of valuable minerals on Mars could indeed trigger a "gold rush". To get private investment on such a large scale would require a significant incentive, and that could be it.

      October 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  77. Jim W. Statesville, NC

    DATELINE MARS. This just in: The plastic object found on the surface of Mars last week turns out to be a ring that held a six-pack of Martian pop bottles together. Also not mentioned in the original article were what appears to be the polyester filters from some sort of cigarettes the Martians may have smoked approximately 880,000,000 years ago before their society died out from lung cancer and diabetes. The silver objects may be pull tabs on the bottles.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  78. eat mor chiken

    Sure glad operating this thing isn't my job, would have been bored after day one.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Major Tom

      That's why you're in charge of the McDonald's french fries vat, sport. You're too gung-ho and energetic to be doing some boring job like driving a Mars rover.

      October 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  79. trex

    ...Well, we found a government job Mitt is quailified for.....................Mars Rover Cleaner..................................blast off Mitt, the sooner the better..........................

    October 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • adinfinitum7

      He won't go. He'll outsource a few jobs to Mars though.

      October 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
      • Dean

        He won't go, but he'll say he'd go.
        Unless you don't want him to go.
        Then he'll say he won't go, but probably will go.

        October 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  80. Sagebrush Shorty

    It's gold! Let the rush begin.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  81. Piranha

    Image 4 looks like a bandaid litter, already we are dumping trash on this planet.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • desii

      i so believe yu it does look like a bandaid but it's pretty cool to actually look at it from this angle

      October 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  82. Piranha

    I could see the lights of Las Vegas beyond the horizon.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  83. Tim

    Perhaps one of the 1,000 points of light.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  84. Fred

    Darn, I thought for a minute there that they had found my keys.

    October 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  85. Average Joe

    Wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  86. blmarcus

    Can I just say that with all the news of war, death, asinine campaign bickering, and general badness, these photos by the Curiosity and NASA's work in general are an inspiring oasis. It is incredible to see new pictures of Mars and learn about it on a regular, if not daily basis. When you consider that the Iraq war cost *at least* $757.8 billion, then $2.6 billion to explore mars and NOT kill anyone is a bargain. Thank you NASA, the US government, and the American taxpayer for these genuinely happy moments in my day.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Rick Shultz

      Have to agree with you. It HAS been a pleasant interlude. I've had a really good time looking at all the great photographs and NOT thinking about all the crap going on around me. This election has been especially nasty, more so even than some of the presidential elections of the early nineteenth century. It seems civilty is dead permanently which is especially sad. And earlier this week after the second presidential debate twitter literally exploded with thousands of tweets by supporters of Obama threatening to riot if Governor Romney is elected and thousands more threatening to assassinate him. Sometimes I wish we could live on Mars now because people on this planet are losing their minds.

      October 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  87. Martian

    Get your rover out of our pile of poop.
    We sent the poop there so it could fertilize our future garden of rocks... and now the humans are getting a rover to smack our poop?
    Out out of here.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  88. W. Daley

    Thar's gold in dem hills, pardner !!

    October 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Becky

      SOunds like a great find!

      October 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  89. 2/8

    Wow.....ummmm....shiny dirt. Okay.....so.....where's all the money going again?

    October 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lber

      Winner for the dumbest comment yet

      October 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
      • theBmoll

        I think the '2/8's applies to his potential for applied intellect!

        October 19, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Josh

      Clearly not to our education system based on the shortsighted, underdeveloped comment you just made.
      It's never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and myopic people are.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  90. Josh

    So, it eats dirt and likes shiny objects.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • SilentBoy741

      Yeah, but calling it the Mars rover Kardashian just seemed wrong.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
      • mahesh

        hahahaha! so true! i don't know what a kardashian is,but all i know is that its an exercise machine for black people!jkin

        October 19, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  91. Ed

    Image 10 looks like concrete.

    October 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • crymany


      October 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • SilentBoy741

      Image 7 looks like the remains of an asphalt highway – after it had weathered for about 50,000 years.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • ygbfsm

      Image 39 looks like something burned and broke up... or was spewed from Mt Sharp.

      October 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • mm

      Exactly right.

      October 19, 2012 at 8:05 am |
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