Feeds

NASA's Curiosity rover set to give Mars its THIRD HARD DRILLING

Sandy Windjana almost ready to get up close and personal with US nuke truck

Remote control for virtualized desktops

NASA’s Curiosity team has signed off on the newest drilling site for the Martian rover – and plans to stick its third ever hole on the planet into the Windjana rock in the next few days.

Dusted off area of the Windjana drilling target for Curiosity

Dusted off area of the Windjana drilling target for Curiosity. Credit: NASA/JPL

The nuclear-powered truck has spent the weekend dusting off and examining its chosen target, dubbed Windjana, after a gorge in Western Australia, and the slab of sandstone has met with the scientific team’s approval.

"In the brushed spot, we can see that the rock is fine-grained, its true colour is much greyer than the surface dust, and some portions of the rock are harder than others, creating the interesting bumpy textures," said team member Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology.

"All of these traits reinforce our interest in drilling here in order understand the chemistry of the fluids that bound these grains together to form the rock," she added.

Windjana is the first sandstone target for Curiosity’s drill, after two Martian mudstone slabs from Yellowknife Bay were analysed last year. The first two drilling sites gave teams evidence of an ancienet lakebed environment and a chemical energy source that provided conditions billions of years ago that were favourable for microbial life.

Boffins are hoping that investigating sandstone will tell them more about the wet process that turns sand deposits into rocks and what the composition of the fluids was that tied the grains together.

Before Curiosity can get drilling, it still needs to do its preparatory “mini-drill”operation, as a further check for readiness. The team expects the rover to start the main borehole in the next few days to collect powdered sample material from the interior of the rock. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Rosetta science team thinks Philae might come to life in the spring
And disclose the biggest surprise of Comet 67P
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
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.
Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.