NASA's Curiosity Rover Starts Drilling For The Third Time
NASA announced recently that its Curiosity Mars rover has drilled another hole in the Red Planet. It is almost a year since the robot last used the tools for digging up the martian ground, BBC reported.
According to NASA, the rover used several tools to examine the target area on the Martian surface such as a wire-bristle brush called the Dust Removal Tool to clear away dust from a patch on the slab of sandstone being studied, which has been named by scientists working on the project as "Windjana," after a gorge in Western Australia.
"We want to learn more about the wet process that turned sand deposits into sandstone here," John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology and a Curiosity project scientist, said in a statement. "What was the composition of the fluids that bound the grains together? That aqueous chemistry is part of the habitability story we're investigating."
According to reports, the rock drill was spun at a scientific waypoint known as "The Kimberley".
The pictures were taken by the rover's Mahil "hand lens" and were sent back to Earth on Wednesday. Pictures depicted a sharply defined hole surrounded by a pile of grey powder.
The samples pulled up from mudstones at the bottom of this shallow bowl contained evidence of an ancient lake, according to BBC.
"In the brushed spot, we can see that the rock is fine-grained, its true color is much grayer than the surface dust, and some portions of the rock are harder than others, creating the interesting bumpy textures," Caltech's Melissa Rice and a Curiosity science team member, said in a statement.