back to article Rover spots 'possibly artificial' MYSTERY SHINY OBJECT on Mars

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    Look, Sir droids!

    Has to be

    1. Annihilator Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Look, Sir droids!

      Look! A penny!

  2. El Zorro

    This is what you get for outsourcing robot construction to Whirlpool.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My money would be on explosive bolt debris from the landing which got hung on on the rover and has just fallen off during the scoop process.

    1. boltar Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Mmmm

      "My money would be on explosive bolt debris from the landing which got hung on on the rover and has just fallen off during the scoop process."

      More than likely. Or some debris that was blasted this far when it landed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mmmm

        You mean the explosive bolts that were not used anywhere in the descent mechanism which has been extensively described in any number of sources?

    2. Mips

      Re: Mmmm

      My money ... would be on a typical US contractor build: bits drop off everywhere.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    It certainly is unnaturally square.

    1. Anonymous John

      That will keep Apple happy.

      1. 404

        You dodged a lawsuit there over a keyboard.... luckily, I can rinse this one out...


        1. Trevor 3

          Sounds like you have experience of rinsing out your own cubical where you work have you?


          1. 404

            Nope. Do some work in what amounts to a tropical rain forest, things get wet, even my badass Elitebook.


  5. mccp

    Is it just me

    Or does it look like there are bits of wire on Curiosity that are twisted together, insulated with Sellotape and zip-tied down?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me

      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.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me

      Would be Nasatape (TM?), not Sellotape. The glue on the regular stuff would freeze.

      1. Haku

        Re: Is it just me

        Probably Kapton with its distinctive yellow/gold colour, rather neat stuff for working with electronics as it doesn't melt when touched with a soldering iron and the stickytape version doesn't leave residue when peeled off.

    3. TheRealRoland

      Re: Is it just me

      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:

      Oh, and it was the International Guild of Knot Tyers :-)

      1. Esskay

        Re: Is it just me

        Stumbling upon these dusty corners of the internet makes me remember what a wonderful thing it really is :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Is it just me

          And to think, only just a few years ago, the whole internet was green fields and boundless meadows, interspersed with gems like this in dusty corners. But alas, now it's all been concreted and paved over by the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Is it just me

            C'mon lyrictards, can we have a verson of Big Yellow Taxi?

  6. pavsmith

    Look sir! Droids!

    Pretty sure we can safely identify the source of this mystery piece of metal...

  7. James Micallef Silver badge


  8. Arctic fox

    In our dreams. :)

    Though it would be lovely. Now where's my tinfoil hat?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: In our dreams. :)

      buried in a few inches of Martian 'soil', it would appear.

      1. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        Re: In our dreams. :)

        See icon.

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    Is it that mysterious?

    Curiosity had a complex multistage landing involving heatshields, parachutes, explosive bolts, landing engines, with various separations and jettisons en route. It wouldn't be surprising at all for bits of foil and other junk to be scattered all over the vicinity.

    1. Bakunin

      Re: Is it that mysterious?

      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.

  10. nigel 15

    Hi-Res image


    looks like dirt in the sensor to me.

    1. rvt

      Re: Hi-Res image

      Not dirt in the sensor,

      here is a closeup : or here

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To the average US tax payer, this piece of NASA's litter, is probably the most 'curious' thing found on Mars so far.

    1. Dave Walker

      Re: Irony

      Sad, but true....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They will name this artifact....

    ........ Usain.

  13. S Watts

    The last surviving martian...

    ...just about to get run over.

  14. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    It's so new. And is already falling apart...

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Curiosity

      Phht, like humanity would build intelligent robots just for them to sit and rust in a corner...

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: Curiosity

        Dunno... but that thing must still be under manufacturer's warranty. NASA should ask them to send an engineer and fix it or replace the whole machine free of charge...

  15. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Antenna

      > The first sign we will see will be when Pluto & Charon turn pink

      Oh No! I've just taken a photo of them with my iPhone 5, and they appear to be doing just that!

  16. John70

    Crash Site?

    Not part of a weather balloon then...

  17. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Is it just me..

    .. or is it still seriously awesome that we get this quality of imagery from a planet so far away?

    Meanwhile, I can't get decent 3G out on the sticks. Maybe we need some NASA guys to improve the design..

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Is it just me..

      Or maybe you need an aerial the size of Jodrell Bank.

      Oh, and I thought we established some weeks ago that the actual bit-rate from Mars was pretty shoddy. You may still be getting a better signal, but NASA have more patience.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Is it just me..

        I want patience NOW!

        Oh, wait..

  18. cosmo the enlightened


    It is my 20 pence piece from when i visited there last month through my wormhole device.

    NASA I want it back!

  19. Esskay

    Puny humans

    even our most technologically advanced robots still get distracted by shiny things...

  20. dotdavid

    Curiosity... evidently the Black Knight of Mars.

    Arthur: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.

    Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch.

    Arthur: A SCRATCH? Your arm's off!

  21. heyrick Silver badge

    Here lies the sad remains of Beagle.

    (see subject)

  22. Velv

    Could very well have been deposited by life alien to Mars...

    We've sent enough shit there over the years!

    Didn't we lose Beagle?

    1. Greg J Preece

      Yeah, but then NASA reckon they found it. Not in one piece, but they found it.

  23. Psmiffy

    Seriously ...

    This is NOT the droid part you were looking for *waves hand* ...

  24. Stratman

    Does the Iron Chicken moult?

  25. Justice


  26. TRT Silver badge

    Well I'd be writing to the customer complaints department if I found bits of metal in MY mars.

  27. Johnny Canuck

    Even if it is from Curiosity, it would still be part of an alien craft.

  28. Platelet

    Every bit of kit I’ve ever owned has had a spare screw left over, It’s nice to see that Curiosity is no different.

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      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.

  29. The Serpent

    Just eliminating the mundane possibilities..

    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..

  30. Anonymous Coward

    It's Prothean

    Probably all that is visible of a buried beacon.

    Quick someone call Liara......

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Larger picture?

    Is it just me, or does the piece of ground marked by the square look exactly the same as all the other pieces of ground around?

    It's not that I disbelieve the story, but could we perhaps have a magnified picture?

  32. Mike Flugennock

    If it is, in fact, something off the spacecraft... 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.

    1. stragen001

      Its a Trap!

      That is all.

  33. Zmodem

    they found a whole building complex here

  34. Stevie Silver badge


    If you squint you can just make out the word "Cadbury" in cursive script on what I suspect is a piece of silver foil. The amber tint would suggest it came from a bar of Old Jamaica or possibly a Caramello. Perfectly mundane, so can we please move on and do some Space Science?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the end of the screw...

    which came through the plasterboard when the carpenters were assembling the Mars mock-up ;-p

    (It's ok, I'm not really a conspiracy theorist)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah there it is... hee Tim found'em

    Ah there they are... the bloody chinese delivered the proper saphire lens to the fracking wrong planet.

    Hee, Tim, we found the missing lenses for the iPhone 5 camera... we can ditch the plastic buds now. :)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Martian Surface

    The Martian surface in that photo looks unnaturally smooth to me. Like a newly tarmac'd drive.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plating off the scoop?

    Follow the image up to the scoop back corner, does that look unevenly reflective to a similar shape size?

  39. John 62

    If it is a piece of Curiosity...

    ... then yes, it is a piece of an alien craft!

  40. cortland

    An droid, forsooth! Nay, nay good night,for thou art hoarse; 'tis but a bit butt.



This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021