curiosity rover

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

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.
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Cornerstone of Mars Curiosity Rover mission, drilling Martian surface, is about to begin

No spacecraft has ever penetrated the rocky surface of Mars, or any planet for that matter, but that is about to change. In the past few weeks, Curiosity Rover has been stationed in a region called Yellowknife Bay, which features fractured ground with different temperature swings compared to other nearby terrain – and plenty of evidence of flowing water. The rover’s suite of instruments has been doing the initial reconnaissance, including several laser blasts with the ChemCam spectrometer. ChemCam has been seeing signs of possible gypsum, or other hydrated calcium sulfates. Some of the minerals found are sedimentary which means there was likely water in the fractures at some point in time. Drilling into them will provide more answers. Curiosity will spin its drill bit for the first time in about two weeks.
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NASA has “big news” to report but are holding out until results can be confirmed [UPDATE]

NPR reported today that NASA has some '”big news” to report – but will not release the finding until they've had more time to confirm the results. According to NASA: “We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting, The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down. This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good.”
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Say “Cheese” – Mars Curiosity Rover sends back high-res self-portrait from Gale Crater

NASA’s Curiosity Rover has sent back a high-res photo of itself in the Gale crater on Mars. The image was taken by Curiosity’s MAHLI hand held camera which sits on the end of the rover’s extendable arm. MAHLI took a total of 55 pictures which were stitched together to create the stunning hi-res self portrait. Note that in the background is 3-mile-high Mount Sharp which Curiosity will be climbing in a few years.
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NASA’s Curiosity rover conducts first soil sample analysis and finds the soil is volcanic and similar to soil on Hawaiian Islands

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover conducted its first soil sample analysis using its miniaturized X-Ray diffraction instrument that is a part of CheMin instrument (a miniature lab on wheels). The soil sample was collected from an area known as Rocknest in the Gale Crater. The analysis revealed that the sample is a weathered volcanic type similar to the soil found on the Hawaiian Islands.
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Mars Curiosity Rover finds more strange bright, shiny flecks in soil samples – working to identify

Unrelated to last week’s “shiny object” find, this week Curiosity Rover took three scoops from the Martian soil and found several bright, shiny particles in the sample. In an area called Rocknest, the rover was sampling and analyzing soil when it ran across a small, shiny particle. Scooping was halted and after NASA determined that the shiny object was benign, engineers proceeded with the dig. In the second scoop, they began to see more bright flecks. Since the objects were apparently buried, NASA believes at this point that they are indigenous to Mars and not man-made materials.
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Curiosity Rover performs driveby blast, then stops and fondles its first Martian rock on route to Glenelg

This past weekend, on route to Glenelg, the Curiosity Rover’s first target on Mars, Curiosity arrived at the “Jake Matijevic” rock where it stopped and probed the rock with its huge robotic arm to determine its chemical composition. Curiosity also blasted the specimen with its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. Then Curiosity shot laser pulses at the rock with its ChemCam located on the top of its mast in order to verify the chemical findings.

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