File this under: bizarre things spotted on Mars. That’s right, the image above – taken by the right Mast Camera during the mission’s 61st Martian day – “shows Curiosity’s robotic arm’s scoop full of sand and dust,” along with an unusual bright piece. Continue reading for a video of the scooping operation and more information.

NASA has revealed that the Mars Curiosity rover detected a bright object on the ground when it started to collect and sift martian soil for the very first time. The scoop vibrates to discard any overfill. Churning due to vibration also serves to show the physical characteristics of the collected material, such as an absence of pebbles. The scoop is 1.8 inches wide, 2.8 inches long.

[Sources 1 | 2]