Astronomy current events question: Curiosity rover finds plastic shred on Mars

Astronomy 210L, fall semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
NASA/JPL press release, "Object Likely Benign Plastic from Curiosity Rover," October 9, 2012
NASA's Mars Curiosity rover used its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to determine that a small, bright object found in its first sample scoop may be a:
(A) drop of supercooled water.
(B) shred of plastic material.
(C) natural type of diamond.
(D) fragment of an insect-like exoskeleton.
(E) crystal of feldspar or quartz.

Correct answer: (B)

Student responses
Sections 70178, 70186, 70200
(A) : 1 student
(B) : 16 students
(C) : 3 students
(D) : 0 students
(E) : 4 students

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