Feeds

Curiosity scoops up SHINY BITS from the RED SANDS of MARS!

Prowling nuclear robot sieves and sniffs the dirt

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Curiosity's latest dig into Martian soil has uncovered yet more shiny objects, but this time boffins don't think they're from the rover.

Bright bit in hole dug by Curiosity

When the science truck swallowed its first solid sample of soil for analysis by its CheMin instrument to look at the minerals inside, it saw that bright bits were in the Martian sand.

The wee bits and pieces at first led to Curiosity dumping yet another scoop of soil out of its robotic arm, for fear that the shinies had come from Earth and would contaminate the sample. But when the small shiny specks kept showing up, scientists figured they must be part of the normal makeup of dirt on the Red Planet.

Just over a week ago, at the start of its first soil-gathering mission, the rover spotted a lone large bright object that mission control guessed had dropped off the rover itself somehow. The team put off grabbing more dirt with the robotic arm for a couple of days but after examination they reckoned it was manmade debris.

The new bright bits are smaller, there's more of them and they are located inside the hole that Curiosity dug, rather than laying on the surface.

"We plan to learn more both about the spacecraft material and about the smaller, bright particles," said Curiosity project manager Richard Cook. "We will finish determining whether the spacecraft material warrants concern during future operations. The native Mars particles become fodder for the mission's scientific studies."

The sample inside the rover, a sieved portion about the same size as a baby aspirin, was delivered to CheMin on Wednesday. Next, Curiosity will use Martian scoops to scrub out its other internal analytic instrument, the Sample Analysis at Mars, which will also look at the soil's chemistry. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.