Like the ‘mystery’ shiny thing Curiosity spotted in October 2012 that was nothing more than a piece that had fallen off the Curiosity crane when it was setting down Curiosity, another shiny thing lodged in a rock has been spotted. The mission scientists haven’t yet explained it. The image of the shiny bit was acquired when Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the Robotic Arm took some close up photos of the surface of a rocky outcrop called “Yellowknife Bay” on sol 132 of the mission (December 19). This bright object could be seen in one of the raw images uploaded to the mission’s website
It was first reported on AboveTopSecret.com
where it shook upt things and caused quite some discussion.
Reporters assumed it was just another piece of litter accidentally dropped from the rover. However, this isn’t the case. On putting the question to NASA spokesman Guy Webster, it appears initial analysis has confirmed it is partof the rock and not something dropped on top.
So what could it be? The high-resolution MAHLI camera is intended to snap close-up observations of Mars surface features — acting like hand lens magnifiers used by geologists in the field. Therefore, the object is very small.
Some speculate that his could be a Mars fossil, but it is more likely that it is a concentration of minerals embedded in the rock. The idea of fossils might be a whole more appealing, but mineral concretions is far more likely.
The human brain often attaches significance to random shapes, making us see shapes in cloud formations above us. This is a psychological phenomenon known as “pareidolia” — and Mars is a very fertile environment for fooling our brains with random shapes. The shiny object looks a bit like a flower, shaking up a fierce discussion on the web that this shiny thing in fact is a flower. I would love it to be a biological, however I have to disappoint you all, and myself, as it will most unlikely be biological.
I am waiting for the scientists to analyse the object and have the rover take a closer look.
I am afraid that this shiny flowerlike shape is not the mysterie of life that I have been searching for on Mars. Perhaps another time, but not today.
- stay tuned -