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Mars Curiosity rover drills hole in Mars for the first time – powder samples collected for testing

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First hole drilled into Mars by Mars Curiosity Rover

The Mars Curiosity Rover has drilled a hole in Mars for the first time yesterday.  Curiosity used the drill at the tip of its robotic arm to drill a small .8 inch (2 centimeter) hole into the Martian rock affectionately named “John Klein”.  The so-called “mini-drill test” marked the first time Curiosity used both the hammer and rotating action of its Mars drill.  The drill pulverized the rock into powder which can then be used in sample-collection tests.  Mission Managers said in a statement:

“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.  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.”

Sources: NASA