Author Topic: Mars Rover Curiosity  (Read 75678 times)

wsansewjs

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #60 on: September 10, 2012, 02:17:11 PM »
Just think!  We have landed a nuclear powered tank with a laser cannon on another world.  Neat stuff!

FIYAH MAH LAZER! PEW PEW PEW!

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BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2012, 10:34:29 AM »
Rover progress to date...



Quote
09.19.2012
Curiosity Traverse Map Through Sol 43 
This map shows the route driven by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity through the 43rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012).

The route starts where the rover touched down, a site subsequently named Bradbury Landing. The line extending toward the right (eastward) from Bradbury Landing is the rover's path. Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the distance driven each sol. North is up. The scale bar is 200 meters (656 feet).

By Sol 43, Curiosity had driven at total of about 950 feet (290 meters). The Glenelg area farther east is the mission's first major science destination, selected as likely to offer a good target for Curiosity's first analysis of powder collected by drilling into a rock.

The image used for the map is from an observation of the landing site by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #62 on: October 16, 2012, 07:46:50 AM »
Quote
10.15.2012
Rover's Second Scoop Discarded, Third Scoop Commanded

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).

2012-323

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


In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #63 on: October 19, 2012, 01:21:12 PM »


Quote
The Mars rover Curiosity has arrived at its long-sought destination: Glenelg, a region where three types of geologic formations converge into a potential bonanza for scientists.

"Glenelg was conceptually a point that represented the three areas," John Grotzinger, project scientist for MSL at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told reporters today. "As part of understanding how those interrelate, we consider ourselves now to be in the promised land."

Now the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument is analyzing a scooped sample of dirt from a site inside Glenelg called Rocknest. This is a major step for the rover, whose ability to X-ray sand is a crucial part of its two-year mission.
 
To prepare, Curiosity rinsed its instruments with some dirt to ensure any Earthly contamination was removed.

In the process of scooping those mouthfuls, it spotted some bright material. One of the pieces turned out to be a piece of the rover itself, a shard of plastic that fell off but didn't cause any harm. But the other shiny things, including the object in the image above, are native to Mars.
 
There are two theories about what it is, Grotzinger said. It could be a type of mineral that breaks along a cleavage point, exposing a flat surface to sunlight; or it could be the result of some process inside the soil that results in certain minerals. Scientists "very much would like to study this," he said. The rover's laser eye will zap the shiny material within the next few days to get a sense of what it contains. Then Curiosity will continue exploring the Glenelg region, probably through the end of the year.

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

Bridges

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #64 on: October 19, 2012, 01:31:25 PM »
*crosses fingers* "Please be gold, or an extremely precious metal"

We'd colonize mars by July. 
So I said to him: Arthur, Artie come on, why does the salesman have to die? Change the title; The life of a salesman. That's what people want to see.

Jason

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #65 on: October 19, 2012, 01:32:39 PM »
Thanks for the continuing updates BT!  This site is my first source for the latest developments on Mars because of you.

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #66 on: October 19, 2012, 03:19:15 PM »
Thanks for the continuing updates BT!  This site is my first source for the latest developments on Mars because of you.

It is my pleasure!
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #67 on: November 02, 2012, 07:29:31 AM »
Self portrait!



Quote
11.01.2012
Preliminary Self-Portrait of Curiosity by Rover's Arm Camera 
On Sol 84 (Oct. 31, 2012), the Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture the set of thumbnail images stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait.

This self-portrait documents the state of the rover and allows mission engineers to track changes over time, such as dust accumulation and wheel wear. Due to its location on the end of the robotic arm, only MAHLI is able to image some parts of the rover, including port-side wheels.

The mosaic shows the rover at "Rocknest," the spot in Gale Crater where the mission's first scoop sampling took place. Scoop scars can be seen in the regolith in front of the rover. A portion of Mount Sharp appears on the right side. Mountains in the background to the left are the northern wall of Gale Crater.

When the rover returns the full-resolution MAHLI frames of the scene, the team plans to generate a more detailed portrait of Curiosity in its Martian neighborhood.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems 
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2012, 08:08:39 AM »


Quote
Curiosity Rover Finds Organic Signal on Mars, But Not Definitive: NASA

SPACE.com Staff
Date: 03 December 2012 Time: 01:19 PM ET

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has discovered complex chemistry on the Red Planet, as well as hints of long-sought organic compounds that could aid primitive life, scientists announced today (Dec. 3).
 
The Curiosity rover found evidence of chlorine, sulfur and water in Mars dirt studied by its onboard laboratory, as well as organic compounds (chemicals containing carbon) inside its Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. However, the science team can't yet be sure whether these compounds truly come from Mars, or arise from contamination transported to the Red Planet onboard Curiosity.

"SAM has no definitive detection to report of organic compounds," Paul Mahaffy, SAM principal investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said during a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
 
"Even though [Mahaffy's] instrument detected organic compounds, first of all we have to determine whether they're indigenous to Mars," said John Grotzinger, Curiosity's project scientist.
 
The announcement came after recent rumors — which NASA attempted to dampen last week — that Curiosity had made a huge discovery on Mars.
 
The observation by Curiosity involved perchlorate, a reactive compound of oxygen and chlorine that had previously been found in the Martian arctic by NASA's Phoenix lander.
 
Curiosity's SAM instrument uses a tiny oven to cook Mars dirt samples, then study the gases they give off to determine their chemical makeup. Martian soil samples are placed in the device by a scoop on Curiosity's robotic arm.
 
When Curiosity cooked the perchlorate in its SAM oven, it created chlorinated methane compounds, one-carbon organic material. 
"The chlorine is of Martian orgin, but it's possible the carbon may be of Earth origin, carried by Curiosity and detected by SAM's high sensitivity design," NASA officials wrote in a statement.

The new findings by Curiosity came during the rover's study of a patch of windblown Martian dust and sand called "Rocknest." It is a flat stretch of Mars terrain that is still miles away from Curiosity's first destination, rock outcrop called Glenelg at the base of the 3-mile (5 kilometers) Mount Sharp that rises from the center of the rover's landing site — the vast Gale Crater.
 
While scientists puzzle out the validity of Curiosity's SAM signals, the rover's other instruments have made curious discoveries, as well, mission scientists said.
 
Curiosity's arm-mounted tools have confirmed that the Martian soil at the Rocknest site is similar in chemical composition and appearance to the dirt seen by NASA's three other rovers: the small Pathfinder, and golf cart-size Spirit and Opportunity rovers.
 
Photos from the rover's Mars hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, revealed that the sand drifts at Rocknest have a crusty surface that hides even darker, finer sand below.
 
"Active drifts on Mars look darker on the surface," MAHLI principal investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego said in a statement."This is an older drift that has had time to be inactive, letting the crust form and dust accumulate on it."
 
Meanwhile, Curiosity's Chemical and Mineralogy detector, called CheMin, found that the terrain around Rocknest is a mix of volcanic and glassy, non-crystalline materials. While the rover found more evidence of water than expected, some water molecules bound to bits of sand were anticipated, scientists said.
 
The car-size Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet in early August. The $2.5 billion robot is the largest rover ever sent to another planet and is expected to spend at least two years exploring Gale Crater to determine if the region could have ever supported microbial life.
 
This story will be updated with more details from today's announcement shortly.
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #69 on: December 04, 2012, 08:17:13 AM »










In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #70 on: December 12, 2012, 12:05:08 PM »
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #71 on: December 19, 2012, 01:02:31 PM »
Quote
PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars rover Curiosity this week is driving within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay," providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill.
Using Curiosity's percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission's priority for early 2013. After the powdered-rock sample is sieved and portioned by a sample-processing mechanism on the rover's arm, it will be analyzed by instruments inside Curiosity.

Yellowknife Bay is within a different type of terrain from what the rover has traversed since landing inside Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 5, PDT (Aug. 6, UTC). The terrain Curiosity has entered is one of three types that intersect at a location dubbed "Glenelg," chosen as an interim destination about two weeks after the landing.

Curiosity reached the lip of a 2-foot (half-meter) descent into Yellowknife Bay with a 46-foot (14-meter) drive on Dec. 11. The next day, a drive of about 86 feet (26.1 meters) brought the rover well inside the basin. The team has been employing the Mast Camera (Mastcam) and the laser-wielding Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) for remote-sensing studies of rocks along the way.

On Dec. 14, Curiosity drove about 108 feet (32.8 meters) to reach rock targets of interest called "Costello" and "Flaherty." Researchers used the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at the end of the rover's arm to examine the targets. After finishing those studies, the rover drove again on Dec. 17, traveling about 18 feet (5.6 meters) farther into Yellowknife Bay. That brings the mission's total driving distance to 0.42 mile (677 meters) since Curiosity's landing.

One additional drive is planned this week before the rover team gets a holiday break. Curiosity will continue studying the Martian environment from its holiday location at the end point of that drive within Yellowknife Bay. The mission's plans for most of 2013 center on driving toward the primary science destination, a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer) layered mound called Mount Sharp.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity during a two-year prime mission to assess whether areas inside Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 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.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 .


In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #72 on: January 15, 2013, 03:27:22 PM »
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1410

Quote
01.15.2013
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA Mars Rover Preparing To Drill Into First Martian Rock



PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is driving toward a flat rock with pale veins that may hold clues to a wet history on the Red Planet. If the rock meets rover engineers' approval when Curiosity rolls up to it in coming days, it will become the first to be drilled for a sample during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
The size of a car, Curiosity is inside Mars' Gale Crater investigating whether the planet ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity landed in the crater five months ago to begin its two-year prime mission.

"Drilling into a rock to collect a sample will be this mission's most challenging activity since the landing. It has never been done on Mars," said Mars Science Laboratory project manager Richard Cook of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "The drill hardware interacts energetically with Martian material we don't control. We won't be surprised if some steps in the process don't go exactly as planned the first time through."

Curiosity first will gather powdered samples from inside the rock and use those to scrub the drill. Then the rover will drill and ingest more samples from this rock, which it will analyze for information about its mineral and chemical composition.

The chosen rock is in an area where Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) and other cameras have revealed diverse unexpected features, including veins, nodules, cross-bedded layering, a lustrous pebble embedded in sandstone, and possibly some holes in the ground.

The rock chosen for drilling is called "John Klein" in tribute to former Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager John W. Klein, who died in 2011.

"John's leadership skill played a crucial role in making Curiosity a reality," said Cook.

The target is on flat-lying bedrock within a shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay." The terrain in this area differs from that of the landing site, a dry streambed about a third of a mile (about 500 meters) to the west. Curiosity's science team decided to look there for a first drilling target because orbital observations showed fractured ground that cools more slowly each night than nearby terrain types do.
"The orbital signal drew us here, but what we found when we arrived has been a great surprise," said Mars Science Laboratory project scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "This area had a different type of wet environment than the streambed where we landed, maybe a few different types of wet environments."

One line of evidence comes from inspection of light-toned veins with Curiosity's laser-pulsing Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, which found elevated levels of calcium, sulfur and hydrogen.

"These veins are likely composed of hydrated calcium sulfate, such as bassinite or gypsum," said ChemCam team member Nicolas Mangold of the Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique de Nantes in France. "On Earth, forming veins like these requires water circulating in fractures."

Researchers have used the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to examine sedimentary rocks in the area. Some are sandstone, with grains up to about peppercorn size. One grain has an interesting gleam and bud-like shape that have brought it Internet buzz as a "Martian flower." Other rocks nearby are siltstone, with grains finer than powdered sugar. These differ significantly from pebbly conglomerate rocks in the landing area.

"All of these are sedimentary rocks, telling us Mars had environments actively depositing material here," said MAHLI deputy principal investigator Aileen Yingst of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz. "The different grain sizes tell us about different transport conditions."

JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

To see an image of the rock, visit: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16567 .

For more information about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl . Follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .


Quote


01.15.2013
Veins in 'Sheepbed' Outcrop 
This image of an outcrop at the "Sheepbed" locality, taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover with its right Mast Camera (Mastcam), shows show well-defined veins filled with whitish minerals, interpreted as calcium sulfate.

These veins form when water circulates through fractures, depositing minerals along the sides of the fracture, to form a vein. These veins are Curiosity's first look at minerals that formed within water that percolated within a subsurface environment. These vein fills are characteristic of the stratigraphically lowest unit in the "Yellowknife Bay" area -- known as the Sheepbed Unit.

Mastcam obtained these images the 126th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's mission on Mars (Dec. 13, 2012). The view covers an area about 16 inches (40 centimeters) across. A superimposed scale bar is 8 centimeters (3.15 inch) long. An unannotated version is also available.

The image has been white-balanced to show what the rock would look like if it were on Earth.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
 

Quote


01.15.2013
Curiosity's Traverse into Different Terrain 
This image maps the traverse of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity from "Bradbury Landing" to "Yellowknife Bay," with an inset documenting a change in the ground's thermal properties with arrival at a different type of terrain.

Between Sol (Martian day) 120 and Sol 121 of the mission on Mars (Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, 2012), Curiosity crossed over a terrain boundary into lighter-toned rocks that correspond to high thermal inertia values observed by NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. The green dashed line marks the boundary between the terrain types. The inset graphs the range in ground temperature recorded each day by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) on Curiosity. Note that the arrival onto the lighter-toned terrain corresponds with an abrupt shift in the range of daily ground temperatures to a consistently smaller spread in values. This independently signals the same transition seen from orbit, and marks the arrival at well-exposed, stratified bedrock.

Sol 121 (Dec. 8, 2012) marks the arrival at the Shaler Unit where scientists saw cross-bedding that is evidence of water flows. Sol 124 (Dec. 11, 2012) marks the arrival into an area called "Yellowknife Bay," where sulfate-filled veins and concretions were discovered in the Sheepbed Unit, along with much finer-grained sediments. The thin dashed line is based on Odyssey thermal inertia mapping in 2005 by Robin Fergason and co-authors.

The mapped area is within Gale Crater and north of the mountain called Mount Sharp in the middle of the crater. After the first use of the drill, the rover's main science destination will be on the lower reaches of Mount Sharp. For broader-context images of the area, see PIA16064 and PIA16058.

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/CAB(CSIC-INTA)/FMI
 

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

BridgeTroll

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2013, 12:43:29 PM »


Quote
PASADENA, Calif. - The drill on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used both percussion and rotation to bore about 0.8 inch (2 centimeters) into a rock on Mars and generate cuttings for evaluation in advance of the rover's first sample-collection drilling.
Completion of this "mini drill" test in preparation for full drilling was confirmed in data from Mars received late Wednesday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. If the drill cuttings on the ground around the fresh hole pass visual evaluation as suitable for processing by the rover's sample handling mechanisms, the rover team plans to proceed with commanding the first full drilling in coming days.

An image of the hole and surrounding cuttings produced by the mini drill test is online at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA16760 .

The test was performed on a patch of flat, vein-bearing rock called "John Klein." The locations of earlier percussion-only testing and planned sample-collection drilling are also on John Klein. Pre-drilling observations of this rock yielded indications of one or more episodes of wet environmental conditions. The team plans to use Curiosity's laboratory instruments to analyze sample powder from inside the rock to learn more about the site's environmental history.

The planned full drilling will be the first rock drilling on Mars to collect a sample of material for analysis.

During a two-year prime mission, researchers are using Curiosity's 10 science instruments to assess whether the study area in Gale Crater on Mars ever has offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
More information about Curiosity is online at: 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 .

2013-051

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

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."

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Re: Mars Rover Curiosity
« Reply #74 on: February 11, 2013, 08:08:54 AM »


Quote
02.09.2013
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Curiosity Rover Collects First Martian Bedrock Sample

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.

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 .

In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."