Quantcast
Latest Stories

NASA rover preps for 1st test of drilled Mars rock

By

This undated image provided by NASA shows powdered rock in the scoop of the Mars rover Curiosity. The six-wheel rover collected the sample after drilling into a Martian rock. The next step is to transfer a portion to its onboard laboratories for analysis. Curiosity landed in August 2012 to study whether the environment was hospitable for microbes. AP/NASA

LOS ANGELES — Fresh off drilling into a rock for the first time, the Mars rover Curiosity is prepping for the next step: dissecting the pulverized rock to determine what it’s made of.

Images beamed back to Earth on Wednesday showed a tablespoon of gray powder in Curiosity’s scoop, giving scientists their first glimpse of the sample collected during the drilling nearly two weeks ago. Over the next several days, Curiosity will sieve the powder and deliver a pinch to its onboard laboratories for analysis.

The Martian landscape is stained orange-red by iron-rich dust from the surface that is blown around in the atmosphere. That the drilled rock is gray underneath signals that it probably did not undergo certain chemical changes through surface exposure, scientists said, and it’s a good starting point in Curiosity’s quest to determine whether the environment was ever favorable for microbes.

“It’s pretty exciting to us that you just sort of brush beneath this surface veneer … and the rocks are a completely different color,” said mission scientist Joel Hurowitz at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The car-size Curiosity landed in an ancient crater near the Martian equator last summer after a harrowing plunge through the thin atmosphere. Soon after landing, the six-wheel rover drove to a waypoint where it checked out its high-tech tools.

The drill was last to be tested. Engineers previously said it was the hardest engineering task since the landing, which relied on never-before-tried tricks to lower the rover from its spacecraft with cables.

Depending on how the rock analysis goes, the team may decide to drill again or start heading toward Mount Sharp, the rover’s ultimate destination where images from space reveal intriguing layers at the base.

The trip to Mount Sharp has been delayed several times mainly because the instrument check-out has taken longer than expected.


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter




Recent Stories:

‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims 21 mins elapsed Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay 23 mins elapsed 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday 47 mins elapsed Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez 48 mins elapsed MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts 52 mins elapsed Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US 58 mins elapsed Avalanche sweeps Everest; 6 killed, 9 missing 1 hour elapsed Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade 1 hour elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Curiosity , Mars , Rover



Copyright © 2014,
.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement

News

  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Avalanche sweeps Everest; 6 killed, 9 missing
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Advertisement
    Marketplace