Bleats

The Mars Curiosity Rover Found A Mysteriously Shiny Object Like A Good Little Magpie

Apparently it's a rock, but I have my own theories.

Everyone’s favourite Mars rover, Curiosity, is reporting some… curious findings back from the surface of the red planet. Namely, a very shiny rock. Evidently, Curiosity is part-magpie, and is attracted to shiny things.

The rover has been busy exploring the Highfield outcrop at Vera Rubin Ridge, which is a unique patch of grey bedrock.

Curiosity has visited the site before, but its controllers wanted to get a closer look at some incredibly smooth and shiny rock that looks like a metallic garbage bag, or, if you want to be generous, a ‘chunk of gold‘.

Is there gold on Mars? Probably not.

Scientists suspect the shiny rock, which for some reason has been given a name (is it now Curiosity’s pet rock?), Little Colonsay, is a meteorite, but we won’t know that for sure until Curiosity does a chemical analysis.

I have a few theories of my own.

  • It’s a metallic garbage bag that was once used as a Halloween costume, not disposed of properly, and floated up into space
  • It’s a normal rock that some alien grew very attached to and chiseled and smoothed it until it became this mysteriously shiny object
  • It’s a piece of the moon.

“Boop bee boop!” – Curiosity, falling to Mars’ surface

It’s not the weirdest thing Curiosity has found since it arrived on Mars in 2012. Gizmodo has summarised some of Curiosity’s best finds, which include a nickel-iron meteorite, a mysterious shard, a piece of plastic wrapper that fell off the rover itself (okay, so that one was anticlimactic), and a suspiciously perfect sphere.

I’m still waiting for Curiosity to find some actual Martians, but I fear I might be waiting a long time. At least we’ll always have Marvin.

Watching This Spaceship Leave Earth From Space Will Make You Feel Very Small

In case you forgot that space is cool as heck.

The European Space Agency has shared a video taken by astronaut Alexander Gerst, who is currently living on the International Space Station, and it’s awe-inspiring.

The video shows the launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft, which launched from Kazakhstan on November 16. The craft was on its way to the ISS to deliver food, fuel and supplies to the astronauts on board.

Check it out below:

If you’re a real diehard space fan, the ESA has highlighted some of the key moments in the video for you:

  • 00:07 Soyuz-FG rocket booster separation.
  • 00:19 Core stage separation.
  • 00:34:05 Core stage starts burning in the atmosphere as it returns to Earth after having spent all its fuel.
  • 00:34:19 Progress spacecraft separates from rocket and enters orbit to catch up with the International Space Station.

According to Motherboardthis launch was significant as it was the first ISS-bound launch of a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket since the previous one, launched late last month, had to make an emergency landing minutes after launch.

For more amazing views from the ISS, check out Gerst’s Twitter.

Here are some photos of the Progress launch:

And here’s Scandinavia as seen from space:

Plus, photos of our very own Outback!

This is a great reminder that even if everything on Earth destroys itself, we’ll always have space. Vast, endless, dark space.

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