Curiosity rover's broken arm heals, exploration-as-normal resumes

Rover returns to showing Mars humanity's mighty drilling skill

Curiosity selfie as it drills for water

The Curiosity rover's arm is working again!

In late February, NASA shut down the robotic limb after a short circuit led to errors. By March 7th, the space agency expressed optimism that the arm would come good.

And last week, it did: NASA reports that last Wednesday the nuclear-powered laser-equipped space tank once again showed Mars that humanity means business by using its arm “to sieve and deliver a rock-powder sample to an onboard instrument.”

The sample in question was the one that gave the arm problems back in February.

NASA now thinks those problems needn't slow the rover's progress, as in tests over ten days the short-circuit recurred only once and “... lasted less than one one-hundredth of a second and did not stop the motor.”

The sample that the arm delivered to Curiosity's analytical innards came from a rock dubbed “Telegraph Peak” in a region that's been named “Pahrump Hills”. Curiosity's now drilled three holes in the area and NASA feels that's enough. Next stop: a climb further up Mount Sharp through a feature named “Artist's Drive” where mission scientists hope to learn if the once-probably-hospitable-to-life conditions found lower down the slopes persist at higher altitudes. ®

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