Curiosity has paused in its analysis of soil on Mars since it spotted a shiny object nearby Monday.

Team spotted bright object on ground near me—possibly a piece of rover hardware? Gathering more data [info]

— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) October 8, 2012

The object was spotted by the rover’s MastCam during the initial processing of its first scoop of Mars dirt.

An image taken by the Mars Curiosity rover's remote micro-imager of a bright object that appeared near the rover is seen here. The object is suspected to be a piece of the rover itself. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL)

The object, according to a Tuesday release, is suspected to be a piece of plastic from the rover:

The rover team's assessment is that the bright object is something from the rover, not Martian material. It appears to be a shred of plastic material, likely benign, but it has not been definitively identified.

It was further studied using the rover’s remote micro-imager — part of the chemistry and camera (ChemCam) instrument. Curiosity team members are continuing to investigate and are scheduled to do so for another day before moving forward with the detailed plan to execute the first test of martian soil.

Shiny Object Update: My team continues to assess a small object on ground, likely a shred of benign plastic.

— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) October 9, 2012

(va NASA)

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