Mars Curiosity Rover Preparing to Drill in Martian Soil for the First Time

by Colonel on January 16, 2013

“Mars Rover Curiosity will soon begin what NASA officials call “the mission’s most challenging activity since the landing” as the 2-ton robot prepares to drill into Martian soil for the first time.

The Mars Science Laboratory team has identified an area of Mars with a highly diverse set of rocks as their first test bed for the untried drill. Of particular interest to the NASA team is the abundant evidence that the rocks — located in a low-lying depression of bedrock known as Yellow Knife Bay — once held water.

“The furthest thing we drove to is the jackpot unit,” MSL project scientist John Grotzinger told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. … Many of the rocks are cracked and feature veins of carbon sulfate. The team’s belief is that the carbon sulfate most likely accumulated in the cracks because of water.

” — Bailey Johnson, Copyright 2013 CBS Interactive Inc

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