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Curiosity rover finds mysterious shiny object on Mars

The Mars rover's discovery of a strange bright object gives us a chance to speculate wildly about the shiny thing's origins.

Mars rover scoop
Here's the scoop and there's the object.

Much like a toddler in a sandbox, the Curiosity rover has been busy scooping up the Martian soil lately. All that digging around was brought to a halt by the discovery of a small, bright object. NASA is currently trying to sort out what it is.

Mars object
Here's a slightly closer look at the object. (Click to enlarge.) NASA/JPL-Caltech

According to NASA, "Curiosity's first scooping activity appeared to go well on October 7. Subsequently, the rover team decided to refrain from using the rover's robotic arm on October 8 due to the detection of a bright object on the ground that might be a piece from the rover."

NASA is attempting to identify the bit of mystery stuff to assess what impact it may have on the rover's sampling activities.

There's plenty of speculation as to what the object is. As NASA suspects, it could be a bit of the rover itself that has fallen off. It could also be part of the descent system that helped the rover land.

If we're considering more exciting origins, then there's an outside chance the object is some strange bit of Martian geology. Even better, perhaps Doctor Manhattan left a fingernail clipping behind. Maybe it's the last new Buckyball in the whole universe.

What do you think it is? Have you misplaced an earring? Curiosity may have found it. Looking for your lost house key? It might be on Mars. You'll have to check with NASA about getting it back, but it's probably cheaper to call a locksmith.

(Via UniverseToday)