Engineers work on a model of the Mars rover Curiosity at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. After traveling 8 1/2 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity will attempt a landing on Mars the night of Aug. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- NASA says a small bright object detected on Mars is likely a piece of plastic from the Curiosity rover.
The six-wheel spacecraft captured an image of the puzzling object Monday after scooping up Martian sand and dust over the weekend.
In a statement Tuesday, the space agency says the plastic bit that fell off the rover is "benign." While plans are continuing to positively identify it, NASA says it is not "Martian material."
Curiosity will continue taking pictures of its surroundings as the project team decides the next move.
Curiosity landed in an ancient crater in August on a two-year mission to determine whether the environment was ever favorable for microbial life. It started driving toward its first science destination after a month checking out its instruments.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.