NASA: Mars rover Curiosity makes first scoop, detects bright object

Associated Press
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SPACE.com - This is a reduced version of a mosaic from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity containing 1.3 billion pixels in the full-resolution version. It shows Curiosity at the "Rocknest" site, where the rover scooped up samples of windblown dust and sand. (Photo By NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - NASA officials say the Curiosity rover has made its first scoop of the surface of planet Mars and has detected a bright object on the ground.

Officials said in a news release Monday that they suspect the object might be a part of the six-wheeled rover, but they won't sample or scoop anymore until they figure out what it is.

The Curiosity has already beamed back pictures of bedrock that suggest a fast-moving stream once flowed on the planet.

The rover landed Aug. 5 and is on a two-year, $2.5 billion mission to study whether microbial life could have existed on Mars in the past.

Today's Mars is a frozen desert, but previous geological studies suggest it was once warmer and wetter.

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