Feeds

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

Robotic rover moves on to sand from mud

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?