Curiosity Rover photographed a flat object that mission members initially thought to be a broken part of the huge robot. NASA later dubbed the object as Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris or PPFOD (Pettegrove Point is a section of Vera Rubin Ridge, the landform Curiosity has been exploring for the last 11 months or so.)
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Soon, Rover’s observation revealed that the object isn’t foreign at all."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!" mission team member Brittney Cooper, an atmospheric scientist based at York University in Toronto, wrote in an update on Thursday.
"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," she added.
Curiosity recently drilled a Pettegrove Point rock dubbed Stoer, and the rover has begun analysing the snagged samples, Cooper wrote in the update. The 1-ton rover has also been measuring the opacity of the Martian atmosphere of late, helping researchers monitor the global dust storm that has been raging on the Red Planet for the past two months.
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However, Opportunity Rover’s storm on Mars has begun dying down, but there's still apparently so much dust in the air that Rover cannot get enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. Opportunity Rover has been silent since June 10 and NASA scientists think the long-lived robot put itself in a short sleep mode.