Feeds

Curiosity rover blasts, grabs and fondles its first Martian rock

Lump of Mars thoroughly investigated in drive-by examination

Security for virtualized datacentres

Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first contact with the Martian surface, successfully fondling a rock with its robotic arm.

Curiosity's robotic arm probes first rock

The nuclear truck arrived at the "Jake Matijevic" rock, named after a late NASA engineer, after a short drive and probed the stone with its robotic arm to assess its chemical elements.

As well as getting to grips with the Martian rock, Curiosity also blasted the specimen with its Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, which is on a turret at the end of the arm. The Mars Hand Lens Imager, also on the turret, got a close-up shot of the rock.

The Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, shot laser pulses at Jake Matijevic rock from the top of the rover's mast, to help verify the chemical findings.

Mars Hand Lens Imager close-ups of rock

Close-up of Jake Matijevic rock. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The rock won't necessarily give Mars boffins a lot of data to work with, but the football-sized specimen was a good opportunity for Curiosity to test its gizmos and gadgets before it gets down to the serious science at Glenelg.

With the drive-by test-run behind it, the rover has now resumed its journey to Glenelg, where three different types of terrain will give it plenty to do. There it will get to use another of its robotic arm's attachments: the drill.

Before that, Curiosity is keeping its eye out for some likely soil to scoop up and pour into its onboard labs for analysis, as it starts its search for environments that have supported or could support microbial life. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.