Look, Sir droids!
Has to be
Martian nuclear tank Curiosity has spotted a bright metallic-looking object sparkling on the planet's surface as it went in for its first soil sample, which could be a piece of the robot rover itself. Curiosity's first scoop also shows bright object The rover was scooping sand for the first time with its robotic arm when its …
There are certainly some braided cables. Can't tell if its Sellotape, or some other transparent thin film.... Like-wise, can't tell if there are zip-ties, or something else performing the same function. Zip-ties were originally developed for holding cable looms in aircraft, so wouldn't be too out of place here- even of if most of us encounter them in dusty bag in the garage.
Yup, simple ties using simple knots.
I read an article somewhere about how the loyal order of knotologists were happy that the simplest knot was being used on something so advanced; and then the article went into detail about how this particular knot would spread out the pressure across a larger area, compared to other knots.
Ah, here we go: http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=4028.0
Oh, and it was the International Guild of Knot Tyers :-)
No, not really that mysterious. Yes, it probably is from the craft or the landing as it's presently only about 500m away from the landing zone.
From NASA's own press release it's more a case of stopping the soil sampling while they work out if it's going to have any impact on the results.
However, "Oh my God! Aliens!" gets more page views*.
* Having said that, the Register is being a lot more sombre about it than some news sources.
Its the antenna from a buried spy robot from Wolf 359. Now it knows that Mars is infected with life the robots will soon arrive to sterilise the solar system. The first sign we will see will be when Pluto & Charon turn pink. From then on you have mere days left.
Now where to I go to register a Cult?
Spare kit? You should see the crap they dug out of Liberty Bell 7 when they finally raised it. Not only should Virgil Grissom get a (posthumous) apology from NASA for the suggestion he pressed the hatch jettison and sank the capsule (rather than the bloody thing just blowing off by itself as he said) but the assembly plant workforce should also apologize for the criminal dumping of stuff up to and including a crushed plastic coffee cup left in the gubbins of the capsule. It's a genuine miracle the machine didn't kill him with all the loose crap back of the control panel.
However, I think that when this piece of Martian whatever-it-is is dug out and examined it will be a paint flake scraped off a sandship's hull.
Given the use of this event as publicity, I'm sure they have a good idea that the rover has lost one of its' fillings or something like that. If it turned out to be a refined metal of a non-terrestrial origin, I doubt they'd want to face the climb down when their paranoid government masters came knocking.
Or on the other hand, it might be the final proof that someone or something else got there first and they come clean about it. Should set all the petty squabbles around the globe into perspective..
...it could well be a little piece of Kapton -- that stuff the old Apollo LM descent stages were wrapped with and which is still used on spacecraft today -- or some similar heat-shielding or thermal-wrapping material from the backshell or heatshield blown loose by the exhaust from the sky crane as the rover was touching down, or perhaps jarred loose when the pyro bolts kicked the heatshield and backshell away. My SWAG is based on my memory of video transmitted from the surface of the Moon by the Apollo LRV cameras showing the LM ascent stage lifting off. Remember when the ascent stage engine lit, there was that big flurry of shiny stuff flying outward? Those were shreds of Kapton sheeting being blown free from the descent stage by the force of the ascent stage engine exhaust. I'd almost bet that's what our MYSTERY SHINY OBJECT is that we're seeing.
To get an idea of what disposable parts looked like after being ejected to the surface, check out some of the fotos Spirit and Opportunity sent back of their own heatshields and backshells lying on the ground some distance from the landing sites. Those things were really moving when they hit, and were all crushed and twisted up with all kinds of debris fragments splattered around nearby.
Don't forget, also, that initial images showed bits of dirt from the surface littering the rover deck after being kicked up by the sky crane exhaust.
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