Mars Curiosity Rover Successfully Collects First Subsurface Sample

by Colonel on February 21, 2013

“The Curiosity rover’s powerful impact drill has successfully collected its first subsurface Mars sample, about a tablespoon of powdered rock that will be fed into the spacecraft’s on-board laboratory instruments for detailed chemical analysis, project officials said Wednesday.

The drill is the last major system on the rover to be tested since landing in Gale Crater last August and the successful collection of subsurface material marks a major milestone in Curiosity’s quest to find signs of past or present habitability.

“Curiosity’s first drill hole at the John Klein site is a historic moment for the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) mission,” said Louise Jandura, chief engineer of Curiosity’s sample system. “This is the first time any robot, fixed or mobile, has drilled into a rock to collect a sample on Mars.

” — William Harwood, Copyright 2013 CBS Interactive Inc.

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