Today On Mars: Curiosity Grabs Its First Fistful Of Martian SandToday On Mars: Curiosity Grabs Its First Fistful Of Martian Sand

· Technology

Image

A Nice, Big Scoop This image from Curiosity’s left navigation camera shows where the soil collected by the scoop was removed from the ground. The scoop left a hole 1.8 inches wide. NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Mars rover Curiosity has been doing a variety of things to rocks since it landed, like zapping them with its laser eye, touching them to sniff their innards, and so on. On Sunday, a new first: The rover scooped up grains of Martian sand then shoveled them into its maw.

Curiosity is equipped with severalinternal instrument that will bake and X-ray rocks to determine their histories. This virgin scoop will be used to season some of the rover’s guts. The sand, taken from a site called Rocknest, will be held and vibrated inside each chamber of Curiosity’s sampling mechanism. In the image above, the gash in the soft Martian soil shows where Curiosity collected its sample.

Eventually, Curiosity will drill into rocks to pulverize them, and tuck the dust inside its instruments for further study. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments will help scientists determine if Curiosity’s exploration zone in Gale Crater could have ever played host to life.

Next Article: Chanting “Party Hard!” While A Man Gets Zapped With A Million Volts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: