Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/10/mystery_martian_object_probably_plastic/

Mystery martian object is relic of (our) civilisation

Curiosity will spend another day checking strange shiny thing just to be sure

By Simon Sharwood

Posted in Science, 10th October 2012 04:48 GMT

NASA has decided the mystery shiny object on Mars merits another day of probing, but is fairly sure it is a piece of plastic from the Curiosity rover.

The space agency's explanation for the object says:

The rover team's assessment is that the bright object is something from the rover, not Martian material. It appears to be a shred of plastic material, likely benign, but it has not been definitively identified.

Curiosity and its remote masters reached that conclusion after zapping the object with the Remote Micro-Imager of the rover's Chemistry and Camera. The result is depicted below, with the mystery object visible “just to left of center of the image.”

The shiny mystery object on Mars

The pause to consider the mystery object means a scoop full of Martian soil has not been transferred to one of the rover's onboard labs. ®