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NASA Mars rover Curiosity drills second rock target

Date:
May 20, 2013
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called "Cumberland." Plans call for delivering portions of the sample in coming days to laboratory instruments inside the rover. This is only the second time that a sample has been collected from inside a rock on Mars.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, "Cumberland," during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (May 19, 2013) and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior. Analysis of the Cumberland sample using laboratory instruments inside Curiosity will check results from "John Klein," the first rock on Mars from which a sample was ever collected and analyzed. The two rocks have similar appearance and lie about nine feet (2.75 meters) apart.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has used the drill on its robotic arm to collect a powdered sample from the interior of a rock called "Cumberland."

Plans call for delivering portions of the sample in coming days to laboratory instruments inside the rover. This is only the second time that a sample has been collected from inside a rock on Mars. The first was Curiosity's drilling at a target called "John Klein" three months ago. Cumberland resembles John Klein and lies about nine feet (2.75 meters) farther west. Both are within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay."

The hole that Curiosity drilled into Cumberland on May 19 is about 0.6 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter and about 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) deep.

The science team expects to use analysis of material from Cumberland to check findings from John Klein. Preliminary findings from analysis of John Klein rock powder by Curiosity's onboard laboratory instruments indicate that the location long ago had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. The favorable conditions included the key elemental ingredients for life, an energy gradient that could be exploited by microbes, and water that was not harshly acidic or briny.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess the history of habitable environmental conditions inside Gale Crater. After a few more high-priority observations by the rover within and near Yellowknife Bay, the rover team plans to start Curiosity on a months-long trek to the base of a layered mound, Mount Sharp, at the middle of the crater. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

More information about Curiosity is online at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .


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. "NASA Mars rover Curiosity drills second rock target." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520173205.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2013, May 20). NASA Mars rover Curiosity drills second rock target. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520173205.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "NASA Mars rover Curiosity drills second rock target." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130520173205.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

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