Feeds

Curiosity considers first dig into Windjana, the sands(tone) of Mars

Robotic rover moves on to sand from mud

Boost IT visibility and business value

NASA's Curiosity rover has been doing some Martian house cleaning, brushing down a potential new target for its drilling tools.

Windjana

Curiosity gets sweeping ahead of a possible drill-down

The rock formation, dubbed Windjana, is a sandstone formation about two feet across that the rover has trundled up to on its way to Mount Sharp. The rock is part of an layer of material exposed by wind erosion and is the first mineral Curiosity has investigated for drilling that isn't made up of mudstone.

"We want to learn more about the wet process that turned sand deposits into sandstone here," said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "What was the composition of the fluids that bound the grains together? That aqueous chemistry is part of the habitability story we're investigating."

Curiosity's route to Windjana

Curiosity's route to Windjana (center bottom red dot)

As well is looking for fluids, the NASA team is trying to understand the geology of the Gale crater Curiosity is now traversing. Besides understanding the geology of the Martian surface more fully, the results could give clues as to where Curiosity should head to after it has reached its next waypoint.

The exposed and eroded nature of the rock means that the NASA team will be able to get access to older rocks than are found on the surface. If the team does decide to use its impact drill on Windjana (which was informally named after a remote Australian gorge) the samples will be ferried back into the body of the rover for spectrographic analysis. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.