First Martian bedrock sample collected by Curiosity

First Martian bedrock sample collected by Curiosity
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity (MSL). Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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 Curiosity rover has extended its robotic arm and used the drill carried there to bore a hole 0.63 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep into John Klein, as the Martian rock was dubbed. Within that hole, scientists believe, is evidence of the wet environments that existed on Mars eons ago. But the successful use of the drill alone has scientists in a tizzy. This means that Curiosity is “a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars,” said John Grunsfeld, with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a news release. “This is the  biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August,” he said. 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. 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. NASA, LA Times, Source: Voice of Russia

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