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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Mystery Over Shiny Particles On Mars Gets More Exciting

•, Dina Spector

Before the one-ton robot could finish sifting through her first small bucket of dust, however, all the excitement shifted to a shiny object found in the sand near the rover.

After reviewing images, the Curiosity team determined that the bright material was probably a piece of plastic from the rover and not material from Mars.

Or so they thought.

The rover collected its second scoop of Martian soil at the "Rocknest" site on Sol 66. More bright particles were found. Believing these particles were also tiny pieces of rover, the team decided not to run the dirt sample through Curiosity's analysis instrument to avoid contaminating the mechanism with Earth debris. The scoop was thrown away. That same day, however, Curiosity snapped an image showing part of the hole left when Curiosity took her first scoop.

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