NASA Curiosity rover investigates shiny object on Mars

The Curiosity team has a pretty good guess as to what it is.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This shiny object on Mars looks different from the other nearby rocks.


Mars is a dusty place, so when something shiny shows up, it stands out. NASA's Curiosity team posted an update to its mission blog on Wednesday with a lovely look at a shiny lump sitting on the planet's surface.

The target of Curiosity's curiosity is nicknamed "Little Colonsay" and it looks like a small nugget. The rover's ChemCam captured a close-up view of the object on Monday. 

"The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny," writes Curiosity team member Susanne Schwenzer. "But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry."

Curiosity's ChemCam is a suite of instruments that includes a camera, spectographs and a laser that helps NASA analyze the composition of Martian rocks and soil. The rover is scheduled to investigate Little Colonsay with the ChemCam to determine if it really is a meteorite.

NASA has spotted bright and shiny objects on Mars before. An odd bright piece seen by Curiosity in 2012 turned out to likely be a small plastic part from the rover. Another mystery particle from the same year was a little bit of Mars.

NASA identified a strange flake-like object as a piece of Martian rock earlier in 2018. 

It won't be surprising if Little Colonsay turns out to be a meteorite. NASA's Opportunity rover found an iron meteorite on Mars back in 2008, the first time a meteorite of any type had been identified on another planet. Curiosity even found a jumbo specimen in 2014. 

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

See all photos