back to article DRAMA ON MARS: Curiosity bot fires laser at alien metal object

The Curiosity rover has discovered what appears to be a partially melted meteorite and has been testing it out with its on-board laser. The golf ball-sized nugget, dubbed Egg Rock, was spotted on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp in an area called the Murray formation, a dried-out lake bed on the Red Planet. After the control …

  1. Fizzle
    FAIL

    Metallica

    "ChemCam fires a green laser at objects to stimulate elections"...

    Oops, slightly mis-read that at first - silly me.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Metallica

      You beat me to it, I was about to ask who they voted for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Re: Metallica

        You beat me to it,

        I am so impressed, so proud of my fellow commentards. Two posts into a thread involving lasers and Mars, and we haven't had any quotes from WotW, no Richard Burton or Jeff Wayne references, and no Captain Scarlet or Mysterons.

        I suppose this outbreak of sanity is only to balance the universe given the lunacy in the High Court today, where rich lawyers funded by rich (and bizarrely left wing) bankers have taken on democracy, and (apparently) won. That must leave the pro-EU liberal left a bit conflicted....actually no it won't, democracy was never their bag anyway.

        Sorry, sorry, didn't mean to mention the B word, see repeat icon.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Metallica

          As the risk of a B-word tangent, I'm finding it ironic that Brexiteers are unhappy about parliament asserting its sovereignty - isn't that exactly what you wanted?

          On a more serious note, the referendum asked if people wanted to leave the EU - not the EEA, which is a much worse proposition. The government does *not* have the mandate to do just what the **** it wants because it's interpreted the result of the referendum as 'do anything to keep out the darkies'. It needs oversight from all of our elected representatives.

        3. Unep Eurobats
          Flame

          Re: Metallica

          It's a meteorite! On Mars!!! And frikkin' lasers!!!11!!

          If people have no better response than to try and rickroll the discussion towards Brexit and Trump (see below) then they may be reading the wrong website.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: Metallica

            Warrants at least a double thumbs up

            1. IT Poser

              Re: Metallica

              Even those in the Styx can understand that pun.

        4. Blitheringeejit
          Holmes

          @democracy

          Funny, I don't remember voting for a government. I voted for an MP, and I'd like that MP to have a say in how the country gets governed.

  2. stu 4

    i thought this was a piss take - this is clearly a bust of Trump upside down.

    now.. IF he is an alien from mars that would explain a hell of a lot....

    1. Francis Boyle

      Looks like Davros to me. Then again if you painted Davros orange and gave him a stupid wig. Might need to do something about the charming personality though.

      1. Benchops

        MONKEY!

        Egg rock? This is clearly the egg that Monkey! was born from.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88y4ttqaW6U

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    "As NASA warns rover's instruments are failing"

    How convenient!

    It's like we are in that Ridley Scott movie.

  4. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Pint

    My Word

    That's Lord Lucan's belt buckle.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: My Word

      Looks more like a bit of Shergars tack to me.

  5. Daniel von Asmuth
    Alien

    Alien metallic object

    Probably debris from a crashed EU craft.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: Alien metallic object

      Relax, its just a remnant from the Golgafrincham B-Ark.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alien metallic object

      Probably debris from a crashed EU.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alien metallic object

      > "Probably debris from a crashed EU craft."

      Which one?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Alien metallic object

        The "Edith Cresson"

  6. Herby

    JPL/CalTech do incredible things!

    Yes, they do the "rocket science" stuff we all talk about.

    Good people there. Of course the fact that my brother-in-law works there might color my opinion.

    Still, if you want successes, this is the place to go.

    1. notowenwilson

      Re: JPL/CalTech do incredible things!

      It's probably worth remembering that rocket science is meaningless unless it's backed up by rocket engineering.

      1. Major_Variola

        Re: JPL/CalTech do incredible things!

        LOL all the rocket "science" was done by Newton and then von Braun control-system types.

        Most of 'practical rocketry' is engineering.

        And perhaps some interesting business models.

        For fun, look up Goddard's very common misconceptions about rocket stability and the

        amusing demos it produced...

        V2 had gyros and vane-control. Modern rockets tend to use gimbals. YMMV.

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: JPL/CalTech do incredible things!

      Rocket science stuff eh? Well, it's not exactly brain surgery, is it?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THNPmhBl-8I

    3. Major_Variola

      Re: JPL/CalTech do incredible things!

      Rocket science is actually just regular chemical / mechanical / electrical / materials engineering with a very large budget and very large reliability requirements. Its all good engineering, eventually boring, despite the application-domain, iff you will eventually find engineering boring; and if not, engineering dishwashers provides the same satisfaction. Perhaps less brilliant colleages some times.

      But much of the hype is well-earned: JPL/Caltech are awesome.

      So is MIT :-P

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    https://xkcd.com/1723/ Meteorite Identification

    And the link to a real flowchart in the alt text: http://meteorites.wustl.edu/check-list.htm

    https://xkcd.com/1504/ Opportunity

    http://xkcd.com/1091/ Curiosity

    https://xkcd.com/695/ Spirit

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and isn't generating the neutrons it once was"

    Been starting to feel that way myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You want my reaction to that?

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Have you tried reversing the polarity of the flow?

        Well it used to work in all those 80's and 90's documentaries on the subject...

  9. Captain DaFt

    Explanation for failing instuments?

    "In the case of Egg Rock, nine laser firings determined it is made up of iron, nickel, and phosphide"

    Then the creature that laid the egg showed up and beat Curiosity so severely it was left half blind and feeble? ☺

    1. DNTP

      Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

      Its an iron golem egg, and those things don't kid around. Mars is red because it has lots of iron, which is the natural habitat for wild iron golems.

      Where on Mars are you going to find a +3 weapon or better?

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

        Nah, it's an egg from the Iron Chicken.

        And the instruments are failing as the Clangers misunderstood and are nicking them to try and play them...

        1. Tom Paine

          Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

          You think you jest, but have a look for the Clangers EP where the rover arrives -- and remember it was made ~35 years before the MERs touched down. It's uncanny! Perhaps Peter Firmin was AManFromMars...

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

        Where on Mars are you going to find a +3 weapon or better?

        There's a darkened stone passageway that opens into a round room. The weapon is in the corner.

        1. DNTP

          Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

          Um… round rooms don't have corners. Or did I miss the joke?

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

            You never played D&D then? The correct response is.. "Ok... we got the <treasure/weapon/etc>.". Dungeon Masters can be devious.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Explanation for failing instuments?

            "Um… round rooms don't have corners. Or did I miss the joke?"

            Of course we all know that. But it's a good way of keeping certain people busy and out of mischief for a good long while :-)

  10. Dr. G. Freeman

    As long as the rock doesn't fire back it should be OK.

  11. Blofeld's Cat
    Coat

    "and isn't generating the neutrons it once was"

    I am told that getting a hadron does become more difficult with age...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's 'cause the girls treat us like leptons.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        I thought it was because all the charm had worn off and only the strangeness was left.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

    Announcing the NASA car!

    - Reliable

    - Sturdy

    - Robust

    - Nuclear powered

    - Multi-planet sat nav

    - Highly adaptable to many terrains

    - Rocket pack (option)

    Cost $67,234,987.23 per unit, delivery changes apply.

    But seriously, good job NASA!

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

      And auto-pilot!

      It's the Tesla Elon Musk wanted to build!

      1. Blitheringeejit
        Joke

        >>And autopilot!

        Surely it's not that difficult to design a collision avoidance system for a vehicle which has the entire planet to itself.

    2. PeterGriffin

      Re: Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

      I know you're joking, but... the reason a lot of devices need to be replaced is simply because the manufacturer stops providing them with software updates that keep them relevant. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is a great case in point. Official Samsung updates would leave your S2 running Android KitKat IIRC. Step forward the CyanogenMod community who have the device running Android Marshmallow. If a person can do that, without the source code to the device drivers and so forth, why the hell can't Samsung who do have the code and significantly more resources!?

      1. David Nash

        Re: Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

        "why the hell can't Samsung who do have the code and significantly more resources"

        Clearly, they could. But they don't want to.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

      Classic Rolls-Royce motorcars were once built like that. Only without lasers.

    4. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Excellence in engineering versus planned obsolescence

      And not forgetting the 24/7 team that will be looking after each car that is sold for not only it's expected lifetime but until it's beyond all hope of economic repair.

  13. geascian
    Joke

    Iron Egg - Iron Chicken?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/clangers/characters

  14. Unep Eurobats

    'Egg Rock isn't unique'

    Excuse me. Then I'm not interested. I know from previous articles that the only space objects worthy of attention are those that are truly unique, totally unique or exceptionally unique.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: 'Egg Rock isn't unique'

      "truly unique, totally unique or exceptionally unique."

      I too have a pet hate of the common misuse of "unique". It's either unique or it isn't. You can't have "very unique" or "super unique" etc etc

  15. hatti

    Dino egg

  16. John Doe 12

    Contradictions / Poor Research

    "But it was back in 2005 that the first metallic meteorite was spotted by the Opportunity rover, which then nearly destroyed one of its drill heads trying to penetrate the object."

    You then link to an article which states this is totally untrue!! They simulated it in a lab and didn't destroy anything on the actual rover. Even before clicking the link I was highly doubtful someone would be allowed to trash a drill on the Mars rover just for idle curiousity - unless their name was Howard Wolowitz :D

  17. Marshalltown

    The white mineral veins in the stone

    ... beneath are interesting. They look like white quartz. But, white quartz is a a low-temperature hydrothermal mineral. The white color is commonly attributed to minute inclusions of fluid, gas or both.

  18. DerekCurrie
    Angel

    But wait! The Egg Has A Humanesque Face!

    I can even make out an ear! This must have been a Martian idol! There WAS life on Mars! (o_0) [kidding]

  19. Pat Harkin

    We find a metal object on Mars...

    ....and we fire lasers at it.

    Did we learn NOTHING from the mistakes made by the crew of the Zero-X? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-X

  20. Sir_Hops_A_Lot

    I can't say I'm totally sold on the general concept of having NASA order robots to shoot lasers at random crap on other planets. I mean, if we start something, we're sort of screwed. We had a shuttle-thingy we could have strapped some guns to but we retired them.......we might as well fire Gumby up there with a rubber-band.

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