Feeds

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

Robotic rover moves on to sand from mud

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.