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Don't worry: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity isn't falling apart.
"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).
Target - Name - Theme - Quadrangle - Curiosity
"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.
Storm - Dust - Air - Curiosity - Cousin
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...
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