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Curiosity Collects First Bedrock Sample

mars curiosity mars science laboratory rover nasa

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:43 PM

NASA Curiosity Rover Collects First Martian Bedrock Sample


www.nasa.gov said:

Posted Image

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
Full image and caption   See drilling animation


An animated set of three images from<br />
NASA's Curiosity rover shows the<br />
rover's drill in action on Feb. 8,<br />
2013, or Sol 182, Curiosity's 182nd<br />
Martian day of operations.<br />
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS  <br />
<a href='http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16728.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'> Full image and caption</a>
An animated set of three images from
NASA's Curiosity rover shows the
rover's drill in action on Feb. 8,
2013, or Sol 182, Curiosity's 182nd
Martian day of operations.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS  
Full image and caption
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Curiosity rover has, for the first time, 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.

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 Saturday. 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.

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

For the next several days, ground controllers will command the rover's arm to carry out a series of steps to process the sample, ultimately delivering portions to the instruments inside.

"We commanded the first full-depth drilling, and we believe we have collected sufficient material from the rock to meet our objectives of hardware cleaning and sample drop-off," said Avi Okon, drill cognizant engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Rock powder generated during drilling travels up flutes on the bit. The bit assembly has chambers to hold the powder until it can be transferred to the sample-handling mechanisms of the rover's Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its<br />
Mast Camera (Mastcam) to take the<br />
images combined into this mosaic of<br />
the drill area, called "John Klein."<br />
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS   <br />
<a href='http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16686.html' class='bbc_url' title='External link' rel='nofollow external'> Full image and caption</a>
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its
Mast Camera (Mastcam) to take the
images combined into this mosaic of
the drill area, called "John Klein."
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS  
Full image and caption
Before the rock powder is analyzed, some will be used to scour traces of material that may have been deposited onto the hardware while the rover was still on Earth, despite thorough cleaning before launch.

"We'll take the powder we acquired and swish it around to scrub the internal surfaces of the drill bit assembly," said JPL's Scott McCloskey, drill systems engineer. "Then we'll use the arm to transfer the powder out of the drill into the scoop, which will be our first chance to see the acquired sample."

"Building a tool to interact forcefully with unpredictable rocks on Mars required an ambitious development and testing program," said JPL's Louise Jandura, chief engineer for Curiosity's sample system. "To get to the point of making this hole in a rock on Mars, we made eight drills and bored more than 1,200 holes in 20 types of rock on Earth."

Inside the sample-handling device, the powder will be vibrated once or twice over a sieve that screens out any particles larger than six-thousandths of an inch (150 microns) across. Small portions of the sieved sample will fall through ports on the rover deck into the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. These instruments then will begin the much-anticipated detailed analysis.

The rock Curiosity drilled is called "John Klein" in memory of a Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager who died in 2011. Drilling for a sample is the last new activity for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project, which is using the car-size Curiosity rover to investigate whether an area within Mars' Gale Crater has ever offered an environment favorable for life.

JPL manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For images and more information about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ .

You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2013-052



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"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#2    Waspie_Dwarf

Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:45 PM


Simulation of Martian Bedrock Drilling

This animation depicts NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilling a hole to collect a rock-powder sample at a target site called "John Klein."

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity's mission site       Related story

Source: NASA - Multimedia

"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

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#3    Major Payne

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:54 PM

Thanks Waspie.....Excellent post

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.".....
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.".......quotes from Winston Churchill

"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws."
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#4    Ad hoc

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:06 AM

Almost makes the surface of Mars feel more mundane, seeing something as familiar as a couple of small drill holes.
*Now we've given Mars a good drilling, who's next?* ;P
Btw it's pretty cool curiosity has that much potential life left in it. Hopefully plenty of discoveries to come.
And a few planks of wood.

Edited by ad hoc, 13 February 2013 - 12:08 AM.






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