NASA’s Curiosity Rover Was Unable To Drill Hole Into A Hard Mars Rock

Posted: Jul 22 2018, 9:29am CDT | by , Updated: Jul 22 2018, 9:34am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA’s Curiosity Rover was Unable to Drill Hole into a Hard Mars Rock
Credit: NASA

The rock target was one of the hardest yet observed in Gale crater

Earlier this week, NASA’s Curiosity rover used its drill to acquire sample material from a rock at Voyageurs site on Mars. But it turned out to be too hard to crack and the drill did not achieve sufficient depth to collect a sample. As a result, the Curiosity team had to stop their activities at the location and travel further uphill to find a more suitable drill target.

“All evidence suggests that this rock target is one of the hardest yet observed in Gale crater, a property that may be indicative of this entire section of the Vera Rubin Ridge. To a geologist, variations in rock hardness could indicate several different physical and chemical properties about a rock. It is important for us to further characterize and understand why this rock unit is so much harder than the underlying rocks within the Murray formation.” Scientists reveal in a new update on the Curiosity rover’s mission log.

NASA’s Curiosity rover is analyzing drilled samples on Mars since its arrival at Gale Crater in 2012. Its aim is to find evidence of an ancient environment on Mars that could have supported primitive life early in the planet's history.

In December 2016, Curiosity drill stopped working reliably. After that malfunction, researchers worked hard to restore the rover's full drilling capabilities and developed new techniques that Curiosity might be able to use to resume drilling into rocks on Mars.

Curiosity rover tested a new drilling technique on Mars in February this year. Although it did not successfully produce a rock sample, the test was enough to validate that the new method works mechanically. On May 20, 2018, Curiosity finally drilled a hole 2 inches deep in a target called “Duluth.” It was the first rock sample obtained by the drill since the mechanical problem began acting up around two years ago.

Researchers hope that Curiosity rover’s drilling technique will continue to refine with more attempts and results from Mars.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir. With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.

 

 

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