Feeds

Curiosity rover blasts, grabs and fondles its first Martian rock

Lump of Mars thoroughly investigated in drive-by examination

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rockin' boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.