NASA: Mars Rover Curiosity Extracted First Rock Powder [VIDEO]
As space exploration continues to progress, NASA announced on Monday that Mars rover Curiosity has successfully placed two small samples of rock powder into its "compact laboratories" for further analysis.
According to the statement, Curiosity's first Mars rock samples have been placed inside the Chemistry and Mineralogy (or CheMin) instrument, as well as the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument over the weekend so they could be studied in detail.
"Data from the instruments have confirmed the deliveries," said Curiosity Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.
The powder that will be tested for analysis comes from the inside of a rock on Mars and is the first sample of its kind to be collected. Curiosity drilled a small hole in a rock earlier this month and was able to extract a tablespoon-size sample from the interior - the first time this was achieved on Mars.
Mars rover Curiosity landed in Gale Crater near the equator last summer on a mission to learn whether the environment was favorable for microbes.
Mars rover Curiosity cost $2.5 million and landed on Mars on Aug. 5 last year to begin a two-year primary mission to study its landing site, the vast Gale Crater. The rover is currently exploring the John Klein rock target as a pit stop on the way to a destination called Glenelg, which is near the base of a mountain that rises up 3 miles from the center of Gale Crater.