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Curiosity rover's second scoop discarded, third scoop of Martian soil commanded

Date:
October 15, 2012
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Commands will be sent to Curiosity today instructing the rover to collect a third scoop of soil from the "Rocknest" site of windblown Martian sand and dust. Pending evaluation of this Sol 69 (Oct. 15, 2012) scooping, a sample from the scoopful is planned as the first sample for delivery -- later this week -- to one of the rover's internal analytical instruments, the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument.

This image contributed to an interpretation by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity science team that some of the bright particles on the ground near the rover are native Martian material. Other light-toned material nearby (see PIA16230) has been assessed as small debris from the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Commands will be sent to Curiosity today instructing the rover to collect a third scoop of soil from the "Rocknest" site of windblown Martian sand and dust. Pending evaluation of this Sol 69 (Oct. 15, 2012) scooping, a sample from the scoopful is planned as the first sample for delivery -- later this week -- to one of the rover's internal analytical instruments, the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument.

A later scoopful will become the first solid sample for delivery to the rover's other internal analytical instrument, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

The rover's second scoopful, collected on Sol 66 (Oct. 12), was intentionally discarded on Sol 67 due to concern about particles of bright material seen in the hole dug by the scooping. Other small pieces of bright material in the Rocknest area have been assessed as debris from the spacecraft. The science team did not want to put spacecraft material into the rover's sample-processing mechanisms.

Confidence for going ahead with the third scooping was based on new assessment that other bright particles in the area are native Martian material. One factor in that consideration is seeing some bright particles embedded in clods of Martian soil. Further investigations of the bright particles are planned, including some imaging in the Sol 69 plan.

Sol 69, in Mars local mean solar time at Gale Crater, will end at 5:01 a.m. Oct. 16, PDT (8:01 a.m., EDT).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Curiosity rover's second scoop discarded, third scoop of Martian soil commanded." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015194852.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2012, October 15). Curiosity rover's second scoop discarded, third scoop of Martian soil commanded. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015194852.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Curiosity rover's second scoop discarded, third scoop of Martian soil commanded." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121015194852.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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