Curiosity Mars rover flashes pics of GREY drilled powder sample
Rock dust could hold key to Mars' wet past
Mars rover Curiosity has beamed back pics of what lies beneath the surface of the Red Planet, whose rosy complexion turns out to be just skin-deep.
The sample drilled out of Martian rock by the mobile science lab appears to be a blue-grey powder, visible in the robot arm's open scoop.
"Seeing the powder from the drill in the scoop allows us to verify for the first time the drill collected a sample as it bore into the rock," said JPL's Scott McCloskey, drill systems engineer for Curiosity.
"Many of us have been working toward this day for years. Getting final confirmation of successful drilling is incredibly gratifying. For the sampling team, this is the equivalent of the landing team going crazy after the successful touchdown."
Curiosity bored into the planet nearly two weeks ago, making a 2.5-inch (6.4cm) hole in the Martian bedrock, the first time any rover has ever drilled into a rock beyond Earth.
The resulting sample is sitting in the scoop of the rover's Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device. The next step is to enclose the powder inside CHIMRA and shake it up once or twice over a sieve to take out particles larger than 0.006 of an inch (150 microns) across. Then portions of the samples will be delivered into the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments for analysis.
The sample comes from a fine-grained, veiny sedimentary rock, named "John Klein" in honour of a Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager who died in 2011. The rock was chosen because it could hold evidence of wet environmental conditions on ancient Mars. ®
Re: Am I the only person...
"take same damn good pictures and explore?"
Ummm... that's what the robot-laser-tank is doing too, y'know?
"for most people its about as exciting as watching astroturf grow."
I'm sorry that science doesn't make you want to stand up and cheer. Why does it need to be exciting to be interesting? Why does it even have to be a spectator sport? Must every human endeavour be full-colour and worth of tabloid front pages in order to be worthwhile and financed?
Re: Am I the only person...
"A picture of some dust isn't exactly going to engage the general public. Sure , its took some panorama pictures when it first arrived. But since then with a few exceptions its been "ooh look everyone , another rock!". Well excuse me if I yawn."
What the heck ELSE do you expect there to be in photos?
A chorus-line of tap-dancing aliens?
Maybe a Ferrari with a model draped on it?
Some nice seascapes featuring penguins?
"I'm saying NASA should realise that for most people"
Maybe they're too busy doing valuable research to give a crap if they're about to get voted off the X-Factor?
"Don't leave the rover trundling from one rock to another for a year - go somewhere!"
They ARE going somewhere. How fast do you think it can go, precisely.
And where would you suggest robot-tank going? The beach? See a waterfall? Taj Mahal? Or maybe somewhere kinda reddy, with rocks?
Oh K9, you shouldn't be snorting that