During NASA’s Curiosity rover’s first scoop of Mars’ surface, the robot discovered more than just soil.
An image taken by Curiosity’s right Mast Camera (Mastcam) shows a small, bright object near the rover (in the bottom right of the image). This was the first use of the scoop on the rover’s robotic arm, NASA said in a press release.
NASA is investigating what exactly the bright object is, but they believe it may be a piece of the rover itself. They will not scoop anymore soil or use the arm until they determine what the shiny object is.
The image was taken on Oct. 7, the rover’s 61st day on Mars. The rover is part of a two-year, $2.5 billion project to look for signs that Mars could once have had the chemical resources needed to support microbial life.