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Wait, did Curiosity just spot a hunk of metal on Mars?

Shiny protuberance could be the secret entrance to an otherworldly lair... or a cool rock.

Is that a piece of metal on your planet's surface, or are you just happy to see our rover?
NASA/JPL-California Institute of Tecnology; Flickr/2di7 & titanio44

NASA's Curiosity rover currently roaming the surface of Mars is developing a bit of a reputation for discovering groundbreaking false alarms.

There have been been unverified hints of organic matter; mysterious methane that turned out to be some stowaway molecules from Earth; and strange shiny objects of unknown origin.

Yet none of these have led us to the Martians' secret underground base. So it is with some hesitation that I present the above photo from Curiosity that seems to show an even larger and shinier chunk of something metallic. The image was taken by Curiosity's Mastcam late last month and enhanced by some folks on Flickr. It shows a metal protuberance of some kind.

While it would be awesome if this were a handle to a secret hatch where we'd find the hidden workshop in which the Apple HDTV is being finalized, it's more likely leftover from a meteorite, some strange iron deposit, or perhaps just misleading lighting.

Whatever it is, I'm sure some startup somewhere is already working on a plan to mine it.