Close
Date TimeAugust 18, 2018
VoiceDon't worry: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity isn't falling apart.
Foreign Object on Mars Spotted by Curiosity Rover Is Just a Rock (Photo)
On Monday (Aug. 13), Curiosity photographed an odd, flat object that mission team members initially thought might have fallen off the car-size robot. Indeed, they dubbed the weirdly shaped target the "Pettegrove Point Foreign Object Debris," or PPFOD in NASA-speak. (Pettegrove Point is a section of Vera Rubin Ridge, the landform Curiosity has been exploring for the last 11 months or so.)
But Curiosity's observations soon revealed that the PPFOD 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 Thursday (Aug. 16).
"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 analyzing 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.
The storm has begun dying down, but there's still apparently so much dust in the air that Curiosity's older, smaller, solar-powered cousin, Opportunity, cannot harvest enough sunlight to recharge its batteries. Opportunity has been silent since June 10, and NASA officials think the long-lived robot put itself in a sort of hibernation.
Curiosity is nuclear powered, so it's not terribly bothered by dust storms and darkness.
The $2.5 billion Curiosity mission, known formally as the Mars Science Laboratory, launched in November 2011 and landed inside the Red Planet's 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater in August 2012.
Curiosity was tasked with determining if Gale has ever been capable of supporting microbial life. The rover quickly answered that question, finding that the crater's floor hosted a long-lasting lake-and-stream system billions of years ago.
Since September 2014, the rover has been exploring the foothills of Mount Sharp, the 3.4-mile-high (5.5 km) massif that rises from Gale's Center. Curiosity is reading the rock layers as it climbs, hunting for clues about when and why Mars shifted from a relatively warm world to the frigid desert it is today.

Related Stories
NASAs InSight Mission Detects Its First MarsquakeNASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake
SpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scantSpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scant
SpaceXs mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problemsSpaceX's mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problems
The universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a resultThe universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a result
Its Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own Falcon Into SpaceIt's Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own 'Falcon' Into Space
Nigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His MotherNigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His Mother
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the MoonNASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
Giant robotic arm catches SpaceXs Dragon cargo spacecraftGiant robotic arm catches SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft
NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sisterNASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister
Jeff Bezos Builds a Moon ShipJeff Bezos Builds a Moon Ship
News Trends
Inside Kim Kardashian and Kanye Wests Low-Key Anniversary DinnerInside Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Low-Key Anniversary Dinner
Federal judge blocks Trump from using Defense funds for parts of border wallFederal judge blocks Trump from using Defense funds for parts of border wall
Naomi Wolf admits blunder over Victorians and sodomy executionsNaomi Wolf admits blunder over Victorians and sodomy executions
‘Aladdin’: Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad’s New Character‘Aladdin’: Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad’s New Character
Former Baylor coach Art Briles named head coach of Texas Mount Vernon High SchoolFormer Baylor coach Art Briles named head coach of Texas' Mount Vernon High School
Delete Facebook now: WhatsApp co-founder gives a talk at Stanford'Delete Facebook now': WhatsApp co-founder gives a talk at Stanford
Feel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in modern times | Owen JonesFeel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in modern times | Owen Jones
Kylie Jenner Breaks Silence on Jordyn Woods Betrayal in Heartbreaking ‘KUWTK’ ClipKylie Jenner Breaks Silence on Jordyn Woods Betrayal in Heartbreaking ‘KUWTK’ Clip
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Celebrate 5-Year Wedding AnniversaryKim Kardashian and Kanye West Celebrate 5-Year Wedding Anniversary
Elon Musks SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps upElon Musk's SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps up
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
Related Stories
NASAs InSight Mission Detects Its First MarsquakeNASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake
SpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scantSpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scant
SpaceXs mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problemsSpaceX's mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problems
The universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a resultThe universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a result
Its Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own Falcon Into SpaceIt's Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own 'Falcon' Into Space
Nigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His MotherNigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His Mother
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the MoonNASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
Giant robotic arm catches SpaceXs Dragon cargo spacecraftGiant robotic arm catches SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft
NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sisterNASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister
Jeff Bezos Builds a Moon ShipJeff Bezos Builds a Moon Ship
News Trends
Inside Kim Kardashian and Kanye Wests Low-Key Anniversary DinnerInside Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Low-Key Anniversary Dinner
Federal judge blocks Trump from using Defense funds for parts of border wallFederal judge blocks Trump from using Defense funds for parts of border wall
Naomi Wolf admits blunder over Victorians and sodomy executionsNaomi Wolf admits blunder over Victorians and sodomy executions
‘Aladdin’: Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad’s New Character‘Aladdin’: Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad’s New Character
Former Baylor coach Art Briles named head coach of Texas Mount Vernon High SchoolFormer Baylor coach Art Briles named head coach of Texas' Mount Vernon High School
Delete Facebook now: WhatsApp co-founder gives a talk at Stanford'Delete Facebook now': WhatsApp co-founder gives a talk at Stanford
Feel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in modern times | Owen JonesFeel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in modern times | Owen Jones
Kylie Jenner Breaks Silence on Jordyn Woods Betrayal in Heartbreaking ‘KUWTK’ ClipKylie Jenner Breaks Silence on Jordyn Woods Betrayal in Heartbreaking ‘KUWTK’ Clip
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Celebrate 5-Year Wedding AnniversaryKim Kardashian and Kanye West Celebrate 5-Year Wedding Anniversary
Elon Musks SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps upElon Musk's SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps up
Leaders
Donald-TrumpDonald Trump
45th President of the United States of America
Mike-PenceMike Pence
Vice President of the United States
Theresa-MayTheresa May
British Prime Minister
Angela-MerkelAngela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Emmanuel-MacronEmmanuel Macron
President of France
Justin-TrudeauJustin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Nancy-PelosiNancy Pelosi
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Barack-ObamaBarack Obama
44th U.S. President
Vladimir-PutinVladimir Putin
Russian President
Shinzo-AbeShinzō Abe
Prime Minister of Japan
How Crazy Rich Asians turns a traditional Asian rom-com trope into a modern statement
Michelle Wolf and Joel McHale's Talk Shows Canceled at Netflix
Tesla Board Torn Between Service to Shareholders and CEO
Genoa bridge collapse: thousands attend state funeral for victims
Omarosa has stash of video, emails and texts to support Trump claims – source
Kodak Black Has Been Released From Jail
Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, dies
Pearl Jam defends poster showing eagle pecking Trump's corpse, burning White House
NASA is having a hard time unseeing Beaker's face on surface of Mars
Watch Kim Kardashian Practice Doing 'Mortician Makeup' on Mom Kris Jenner
Ariana Grande's 'Sweetener' Proves That Trap Is the New Pop
Tesla shares SINK after Elon Musk details ‘EXCRUCIATING year’ in emotional interview
Matt Olson homers in 10th, A's pull within game of Astros
Revealed: asylum seekers' 20-year wait for Home Office ruling
'This is for real': Usain Bolt arrives in Sydney to chase football dream
Nigel Farage hits out at MPs as he joins forces with hard Brexit group
Donald Trump says he cancelled $92 milllion military parade, suggests buying more jet fighters instead
Current Miss America says leadership bullied, manipulated and silenced her
Washington teen who pushed friend off 60-foot bridge says she 'thought she would be fine'
Kerala floods: death toll rises above 324 as rescue effort intensifies
Trump asks how Cuomo can survive after saying America 'was never that great'
Britney Spears Ordered To Pay Kevin Federline Over $100K In Child Support Battle
Ocasio-Cortez bans press from covering campaign event
Mile 22 a fast-paced spy thriller
Royal grumble: Taxpayers to shell out £2mn for minor princess’ wedding
Stormy Daniels blames Celebrity Big Brother withdrawal on custody issue
Referee Bobby Madley quits as Premier League match official
WATCH: Have-a-go hero sends motorbike thief FLYING as he rams him with Ford Fiesta
The highest-paid actresses in the world: Johansson, Jolie, Aniston
Astronomers identify some of the oldest galaxies in the universe
Melbourne Teen Pleads Guilty to Hacking Apple Servers and Accessing Customer Accounts
Colbert Mocks Trump’s Clumsy Attempt To Rein In Omarosa
Ariana Grande And The Roots Deliver Soaring Tribute To Aretha Franklin
Elon Musk: This has been the most painful year of my career
Donald Trump declares newspapers the 'opposition party' as they rebuke 'dirty war' on free press with coordinated editorials
Italy earthquake: WATCH moment 5.2 quake hits Italy - fears over Volcano Vesuvius ROCKET
Italy lowers confirmed death toll to 38 in Genoa collapse
Serena Williams learned sister's killer was out on parole just before worst career loss
Does Earth have more than one moon? Researchers propose 'mini-moon' theory
Ariana Grande Mimics Celine Dion, Gets James Corden Piggyback on 'Carpool Karaoke'
Omarosa Releases ‘Secret Tape’ Of Lara Trump Discussing Monthly Payments
Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has died
La Liga set to stage match in US as battle to match Premier League grows
A-levels: proportion of students in England getting C or above falls
Madonna at 60: Why the Queen of Pop has never been happier
Northern Ireland shock video: Horror as hundreds CHEER burning of UK flag & poppy wreaths
The big pull that will make the Parker Solar Probe the fastest human-made object
Space Weapon? US Calls Out Russian Satellite's 'Very Abnormal Behavior'
Colorado man arrested after pregnant wife and two daughters go missing
Ebenezer Cobb Morley: Google Doodle celebrates football's founding father
Kim Jong-nam murder: judge rules there is enough evidence for trial to proceed
Royal rumour: Could THIS be the telltale sign Meghan Markle is expecting a royal baby?
Elon Musk's Boring Company proposes building a tunnel to Dodger Stadium
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: America 'was never that great'
Diego Costa double helps Atlético beat Real Madrid 4-2 in Uefa Super Cup
Turkish lira rallies as Qatar makes $15bn loan pledge
Colbert Agrees With Trump On 1 Thing ― And It Has To Do With Obama
Stolen Buddha returned after 57 years
Jennifer Lawrence Interviews BFF Emma Stone About Having Kids, Turning 30
Inside our dinner with the historic cast of 'Crazy Rich Asians'
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne could miss three months with injury
White House revokes security clearance of ex-CIA chief and Trump critic John Brennan
Lyric McHenry: Everything to Know About Reality Star Who Died After Suspected Overdose
Italy bridge collapse: 39 dead as minister calls for resignations
Westminster Terror Suspect Salih Khater Held For Attempted Murder
Nicki Minaj's ex accuses hip-hop star of cutting him: 'I almost died'
Like old times: Dodgers, Giants brawl as pennant race heats up
Trump campaign files complaint against Omarosa, says she breached confidentiality agreement
Real Madrid Begin Life Without Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane
Brigitte Macron: Wife of French President heads out in tiny shorts on cycle ride in France
Ivanka Trump STUNS in tight blue dress as she tours intriguing Pittsburgh space facility
Emilia Clarke: Game of Thrones actress reveals the one question she HATES being asked
Twitter suspends Alex Jones for one week after violating company rules
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott Spark Engagement Rumors While Jewelry Shopping
'AGT' Recap: Singer Courtney Hadwin, 14, Steals The Show With Epic Final Performance
Colbert Has Savage Response To Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ Latest Defense Of Trump
Arizona Woman Vanishes After Sending Strange Text To Roommate
First look inside SpaceX Crew Dragon
Facebook to show La Liga for free in India
SWEDEN RIOTS: Masked gangs set FIRE to 80 vehicles in shock violence weeks before election
Beyonce's Kids Join Her on 'Vogue' Photo Shoot and They're Just Too Cute: Watch!
Did Omarosa break the law by secretly taping her firing in White House Situation Room?
Ariana Grande and James Corden performed a musical version of 'Titanic'; will never let go
Beyoncé dedicates Detroit concert to Aretha Franklin: 'We love you'
Rapper Azealia Banks claims she was at Elon Musk's house over the weekend as he was 'scrounging for investors'
Taraji P. Henson Is The New Mel Gibson (Thank God) In ‘What Men Want’ Trailer
Turkey lira: Ankara to boycott US electronic goods
Flirty Nicki Minaj Makes Stephen Colbert Forget He's Married
Donald Trump calls Omarosa Manigault Newman 'that dog'
Genoa bridge collapse: at least 22 killed, Italian minister says
Meghan Markle Once Wrote About Wanting To Be A Princess
Jim Neidhart, WWE legend, is dead at 63
New Bachelor in Paradise season gets its first triangle with Tia, Colton and Chris
Trump hits back after Omarosa releases secret recording of president
Vienna ranked as most liveable city in the world
Parliament crash VIDEO: Watch as armed police swoop after car crashes into Westminster
Alien abduction: 45 years after alleged UFO encounter, Mississippi man breaks his silence
Army Green Beret dies after IED explosion in southern Afghanistan
Australia archbishop gets house detention for abuse cover-up
Lewis Hamilton news: 'Love interest' Barbara Palvin sets record straight on 'romance'
Model Who Left Kylie Jenner's Birthday on Stretcher Says She's 'Super Embarrassed'
NASA Has Lost Its $400 Million Mars Rover In a Dust Storm
Oldest pterodactyl fossil discovered in Utah desert
Vigo festival: Hundreds injured in Spain after platform collapses
Benjamin Netanyahu Attacks Jeremy Corbyn Over Alleged Wreath-Laying For Terrorists
In pictures: World Architecture Festival 2018 shortlist
Model George Koh guilty of killing rival after Instagram row
Elon Musk says he expects Saudis to fund plan to take Tesla private
Stephen Miller’s uncle compares his nephew and President Trump to Nazis in scathing essay
Peter Strzok fired from the FBI
French theme park training crows to clean up trash, cigarette butts
White House: Omarosa revelations prove her 'lack of character and integrity'
Hardly Anyone Wants to Admit America Is Beating Poverty
Turkish lira crisis: euro plunges as currency volatility sparks contagion fear
Kim and Khloé Kardashian Attend Sister Therapy with Kourtney After Calling Her a 'Raging Bitch'
Teen Choice Awards: Winners List
‘Strictly Come Dancing’: Katie Piper Announced As First Celeb Taking Part In 2018 Series
Aretha Franklin gravely ill in Detroit
Boris Johnson Savaged As He Dodges Burka Questions And Makes Tea For Journalists
Tiger Tracker: Follow Tiger Woods' final round at the PGA Championship
Bernardo Silva sets seal on dominant Manchester City win over Arsenal
Rheumatoid arthritis - the best fruit and vegetables to reduce joint pain
Ruby Rose deletes Twitter following backlash from 'Batwoman' casting
Idris Elba tweets spark Bond speculation
Second night of huge protests in Romania
Meghan Markle BANNED her father from making wedding speech before he cancelled completely
Omarosa: I secretly taped my firing from the Trump White House to 'protect myself'
Sadio Mané scores twice as Liverpool thrash West Ham United
Kanye West: I wasn't stumped by Kimmel's Trump question
Manchester shooting: Ten shot in Moss Side as gunman goes on rampage after community day
Trump blasts Omarosa as a ‘lowlife’ in light of her book claiming he’s a racist
Carrie Underwood's First Baby Bump Photo Since Announcing Her Pregnancy Radiates Happiness
Richard Russell, Who Stole Plane Near Seattle, Raises Troubling Security Questions
VS Naipaul, Nobel prize-winning British author, dies aged 85
NASA's Parker Solar Probe blasts off on epic journey to 'touch the Sun'
Kanye West Says He 'Would Smash' All of Wife Kim Kardashian's Sisters in New Song 'XTCY'
Trump Sends Single Tweet Condemning Racism On Charlottesville Anniversary
Ruben Neves: Jordan Pickford SLAMMED after Wolves star’s stunning goal vs Everton
The Latest: Tiger makes turn at PGA just 2 shots off lead
Weekend Box Office: 'The Meg' Showing Some Teeth With A $15M Opening Day
The meaning of Beyoncé: a dispatch from inside the Beyhive
Elon Musk and Tesla sued over 'fraudulent scheme' to go private
House of Fraser dodges administration as Mike Ashley seals £90m deal
MacBook Air 2018 release - everything Apple needs to upgrade to please laptop fans
Dele Alli gets Tottenham off to a winning start against Newcastle
'Our women are FREE!' Lebanon mayor hires policewomen in HOT PANTS to boost tourism
NASA delays launch of probe to 'touch the sun'
F-15 fighter planes give chase after twin-propellor Q400 barges on to runway at Seattle-Tacoma airport and takes off
'RHONY' star Bethenny Frankel's ex-boyfriend Dennis Shields found dead in Trump Tower
Nicki Minaj ruthlessly blasts Drake, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill and more in 'Barbie Dreams' lyrics
All the Crazy Details from Kylie Jenner’s 21st Birthday Party
Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich arrested on suspicion of assaulting a prostitute in Frankfurt 
Omarosa says Trump is a racist who uses N-word – and claims there's tape to prove it
Ivanka Trump shows off thrifty side wearing striking dress she first debuted last year
Amal Clooney: George Clooney's connection to Princess Eugenie REVEALED ahead of wedding
When Does Nicki Minaj's New Album Drop? The 'Queen' Release Date Is Sooner Than You Think
Trump Hits Turkey When It's Down, Doubling Tariffs
Ryanair cancels 400 flights as pilots strike
Fredericton shooting: Four dead including two police in Canada
Samsung launches Fortnite for Android exclusive
Andrew Luck makes return as Colts beat Seahawks 19-17
Prescott throws for TD before 49ers rally past Cowboys 24-21
James Bond: Idris Elba to replace Daniel Craig? OVERTAKES bookies' favourites as odds cut
Fortnite's 'Season 5' Snobby Shores Treasure Map: Where To Find The Treasure
The sexy style Meghan Markle has abandoned since marrying Prince Harry
France holiday HORROR: Helicopters rescue 750 campers from FLASH FLOODS - one missing
Parker Solar Probe cleared for Saturday launch to 'touch the sun'
Kylie Jenner Shares New Photos of 'Most Special Gift' Stormi's Face in Honor of 21st Birthday
Justin Bieber Explains Why He Was Crying Next to Hailey Baldwin
Kanye West Jokes He Worried About Kim Kardashian Around Trump: 'He's a Player'
Tesla's board may reportedly tell Elon Musk to recuse himself from talks about taking the company private
Michael Avenatti Says He’s In Iowa To Explore A Run For President
Judge Threatens Sessions With Contempt Over Deported Asylum Seekers
Everton sign Barcelona’s Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes plus Shakhtar’s Bernard
Laura Ingraham's 'demographic changes' monologue is a rallying cry to Trump's base
Mike Pence launches plans for Space Force as new military service
Nasa's daring mission to 'touch the sun' explained
From Rihanna's eyebrows to slip dresses: should we embrace the 90s revival?
Interest rates will stay low for 20 years – Bank of England expert
Samsung set to unveil next flagship Note smartphone
Emilia Clarke boyfriend: Is the Game of Thrones star single? Who has she dated?
Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez nearly spills out of top
Egypt's second sphinx FOUND: Ancient statue discovered during ROAD WORKS
You know aging in Hollywood is rough when Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt get Photoshopped
Weird, 570-Million-Year-Old 'Leaf' Fossil Is Actually from an Animal
Melania Trump's parents are now US citizens
Assange 'considering' testifying in Russia meddling probe
Lombok earthquake: new quake hits as death toll from earlier tremor tops 300
Police warn Drake fans against doing 'Shiggy' dance on road
Chelsea announce agreement to sign Mateo Kovacic on season-long loan
Carrie Underwood is pregnant, tells fans she is 'over the moon'
Professional golfer Jarrod Lyle dies at age 36 after battling leukemia
Tweet threatens to ‘waste’ everyone at town hall event for Devin Nunes’ opponent
Prince William and Theresa May join ex-soldiers to celebrate Battle of Amiens which signalled beginning of end of WW1
Argentina holds historic abortion vote as 1m women rally to demand change
US confirms Russia DID order Salisbury nerve agent attack and promise REVENGE sanctions
Gaining control of Portugal wildfire will take days, prime minister says
Brad Pitt says he loaned $8 million to Angelina Jolie, paid $1.3 million in child support
NASA's newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun's scorching hot atmosphere
Chelsea sets $91m record for goalkeeper
Close