Bright object on Mars is likely plastic from rover
This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover's first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. The object might be a piece of rover hardware. (NASA)
Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:34AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 10, 2012 8:55AM EDT
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA says a small bright object detected on Mars is likely a piece of plastic from the Curiosity rover.
The six-wheel spacecraft captured an image of the puzzling object Monday after scooping up Martian sand and dust over the weekend.
In a statement Tuesday, the space agency says the plastic bit that fell off the rover is "benign." While plans are continuing to positively identify it, NASA says it is not "Martian material."
Curiosity will continue taking pictures of its surroundings as the project team decides the next move.
Curiosity landed in an ancient crater in August on a two-year mission to determine whether the environment was ever favorable for microbial life. It started driving toward its first science destination after a month checking out its instruments.