Sunday, February 10, 2013

Curiosity Rover Drills into Mars

Feb. 9, 2013:  NASA's Curiosity rover has used a drill carried at the end of its robotic arm to bore into a flat, veiny rock on Mars and collect a sample from its interior. This is the first time any robot has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars.

This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August, another proud day for America," says John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. "The most advanced planetary robot ever designed is now a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars."

Curiosity Drills into Mars (splash)
At the center of this image from NASA's Curiosity rover is the hole in a rock called "John Klein" where the rover conducted its first sample drilling on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS more

 The fresh hole, about 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) wide and 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep in a patch of fine-grained sedimentary bedrock, can be seen in images and other data Curiosity beamed to Earth on Feb. 9th. The rock is believed to hold evidence about long-gone wet environments. In pursuit of that evidence, the rover will use its laboratory instruments to analyze rock powder collected by the drill.

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Source: NASA Science News.


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