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‘.
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.
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.