Curiosity drills into Mars
Innocent exploration or first shot in INTERPLANETARY BIO-WAR?
Nuclear-powered, laser-equipped space tank Curiosity has unveiled another of its weapons: a 2.3mm drill bit that it has used to gouge a hole 6.4 cm deep into the Martian soil.
NASA has kindly furnished world+dog with the image of the drill bit below. Behold its fearsome bluntness if you dare!
Curiosity's drill bit. Are you frightened yet, Martians?
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS
The bit has drilled two 6.4cm holes in Mars, a feat Reg readers may recall as the subject of a little terrestrial tetchiness after it was discovered the bit-bearing-box had been opened before Curiosity left earth. That mistaken decision mean the bits potentially bore earth microbes to Mars, where they could conceivably contaminate the local environment.
That worry seems to have gone away as the rover has been allowed to thrust its hardened bit into Mars' surface not once but twice, as the image below shows.
Take that, Martian scum!
The drill turned some Mars rock to powder and Curiosity has duly scooped that up so it can be analysed by its on-board lab.
Mission scientists are rather chuffed as this is the first time humanity has managed to get its remotely-operated robotic hands on the interior of a rock on another world.
The rock in question is said to be “fine-grained, veiny sedimentary rock” selected “because it may hold evidence of wet environmental conditions long ago.”
Curiosity has plenty more drilling action in it: the rover has spare bits mounted externally and can drop blunt bits and load up replacements with its external arm. ®
'Drop' blunt bits?
I hope they're going to put them in the recycling bin so the Aeolis Palus Rural District Council bin-beings can take them away. I dunno, first thing humans do on a new planet is drop litter....
Open the box.
...... the bit-bearing-box had been opened before Curiosity left earth.
That'll be because while there was a signature on the checklist, they couldn't read it and the "Name in block caps" section was blank. So they had to recheck the contents.
Remember; No names, no pack drill.
To paraphrase (or rip off) H.G. Wells...
Who could have known that at the dawn of the 21st century, from across the vastness of space our red planet was being observed. Intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic studied the myriad comings and goings of our home as carefully as they might observe the organisms that swarm and multiply in the occasional, incredibly rare drop of liquid water that you might find. They looked upon the 4th planet from the Sun, its resources and natural history with envious eyes, and slowly they drew their plans against us.
It started with seeming innocence, with simple observational missions from high above our beloved red deserts. Then the limits of the Outsiders aggression were made clear by the orbital bombardment of our world with BEAGLEs and probes that alledgedly were meant to go into orbit if they had not been programmed with the wrong unit of measurement, but these were just the initial phases of a far more sinister conspiracy......INVASION!!!