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"Foreign Object" discovered on Mars by Curiosity Rover is only one stone (photo)



  The NASA Mars rover Curiosity photographed this strange object on August 13, 2018. Mission team members initially thought it might reveal some of the rovers, but Curiosity's observations, that it was a stone flake , </p>
<p>                    <cite class= Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Do not worry, the NASA Mars Rover Curiosity is not falling apart.

On Monday (Aug. 1

3), Curiosity photographed a strange, flat object that the members of the mission team initially thought could have been car-sized by the robot. In fact, they called the strangely shaped target the "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris" or PPFOD in NASA language. (Pettegrove Point is a section of Vera Rubin Ridge, the landform that Curiosity has been researching for the last 11 months.)

But Curiosy's observations soon showed that the PPFOD is not foreign at all. [Mars Illusion Photos: Seeing Things on Mars]

"Indeed, it was found to be a very thin stone flake so we can all sleep soundly tonight – curiosity has not started to lose its skin!" Emagazine.credit-suisse.com/app/art … = 120 & lang = DE Brittney Cooper, a member of the mission group at York University in Toronto, wrote in an update on Thursday (August 16): "Perhaps the target should have been given a different name, in keeping with the theme of the current quadrangle. Curiosity lives:" Rabhadh Ceàrr "or" False alarm "in Scottish Gaelic," she added.

Curiosity recently drilled a Pettegrove point rock called Stoer, and the rover has begun to analyze the snagged samples, Cooper wrote in the update. The 1-tonne rover has recently also been measuring the opacity of the Martian atmosphere and helping researchers observe the global dust storm that has been raging on the Red Planet for two months.

The storm has begun to die, but there is still so much dust in the air that Curiosy's older, smaller, solar-powered cousin Opportunity can not collect enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. The opportunity has been quiet since June 10, and NASA officials think the long-lived robot is going into a kind of hibernation.

Curiosity is nuclear-fueled, so it is not bothered by dust storms and darkness.

The $ 2.5 billion Curiosity Mission, officially known as the Mars Science Laboratory, launched in November 2011 and landed in August 2012 in the 154-mile Gale Crater of the Red Planet.

Curiosity was tasked to determine if Gale was ever able to support microbial life. The rover quickly answered that question, noting that the crater floor was home to a long-lasting lake-and-stream system billions of years ago.

Since September 2014, the rover explores the foothills of Mount Sharp, the 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) massif that rises from Gale's Center. Curiosity reads the layers of rock as it climbs, looking for clues as to when and why Mars has moved from a relatively warm world to the cold desert.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook or Google+. Originally posted on Space.com


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