The Red Planet is a source of fascination for many and any news of potential life is jumped upon by ardent planetary fans. So when NASA said they straight up didn’t know what a strangely out of place “something” was people started to speculate.
Some scientists worried it was a piece of the rover that had broke off, unable to see the damage on camera it seemed to be the rational explanation. Others speculated that it could be space debris or even some left behind ruin from some extra-terrestrial civilisation. Either way it had NASA stumped so long they gave it it’s own name the “Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris.”
Unfortunately for UFO fanatics the discover isn’t as exciting as one might hope. The object now appears to be, well, just a thin chunk of rock, nothing more. Why the rock is looks so out of place is still to be known. But after using an instrument called the ChemCam RMI, Nasa has determined it was not man made.
NASA has released a statement on it’s mission update as follows:
The planning day began with an interesting result from the previous plan’s ChemCam RMI analysis of a target that was referred to as “Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris” (PPFOD), and speculated to be a piece of spacecraft debris. In fact it was found to be a very thin flake of rock, so we can all rest easy tonight – Curiosity has not begun to shed its skin! Perhaps the target should have been given a different name befitting the theme of the current quadrangle in which Curiosity resides: “Rabhadh Ceàrr”, or “False Alarm” in Scottish Gaelic.
While the rock turned out to be less exciting than first hope the Curiosity Rover is still rolling around mars and finding out all sorts of interesting stuff. You can follow the mission on NASA,s blog at https://mars.nasa.gov and who knows, if Elon Musk can pull him self out of his current funk, we might be able to go visit the “Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris.” ourselves one day.