Curiosity Mars rover resumes work with first scooped sample

Oct 11, 2012 by Guy Webster
This pairing illustrates the first time that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity collected a scoop of soil on Mars. It combines two raw images taken on the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012) by the right camera of the rover's two-camera Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The right Mastcam, or Mastcam-100, has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

(Phys.org)—The team operating Curiosity decided on Oct. 9, 2012, to proceed with using the rover's first scoop of Martian material. Plans for Sol 64 (Oct. 10) call for shifting the scoopful of sand and dust into the mechanism for sieving and portioning samples, and vibrating it vigorously to clean internal surfaces of the mechanism. This first scooped sample, and the second one, will be discarded after use, since they are only being used for the cleaning process. Subsequent samples scooped from the same "Rocknest" area will be delivered to analytical instruments.

Investigation of a small, bright object thought to have come from the rover may resume between the first and second scoop. Over the past two sols, with rover arm activities on hold, the team has assessed the object as likely to be some type of plastic wrapper material, such as a tube used around a wire, possibly having fallen onto the rover from the Laboratory spacecraft's descent stage during the landing in August.

Sol 63 activities included extended by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station, or REMS. The Sol 63 planning also called for panoramic imaging by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, in the early morning light of Sol 64, before uplink of Sol 64 commands.

A Sol 61 raw image from the right Mast Camera, at 1.usa.gov/VSwTN7 , shows the location from which Curiosity's first scoop of soil was collected.

Sol 63, in Mars local mean solar time at Gale Crater, ended at 1:03 a.m. Oct. 10, PDT (4:03 a.m., EDT).

Explore further: Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

Related Stories

First color image of Mars returned from Curiosity

Aug 07, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This view of the landscape to the north of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was acquired by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the afternoon of the first day after landing. (The team calls this ...

Opportunity Presses On Toward Victoria

May 18, 2006

NASA's Opportunity rover has driven about 200 more meters (656 feet) to put itself within about 1,100 meters (two-thirds of a mile) of Victoria Crater, its next destination on the Meridiani Planum. As of Martian ...

Riding Ripples And Working Issues

Nov 03, 2005

Opportunity is healthy and traversing around the northwest side of "Erebus Crater." The rover has driven on every sol possible, acquiring during and after each drive, and surveying the sky and horizon in the mornings with ...

Opportunity's Traverse map from sol 2951

May 17, 2012

(Phys.org) -- After spending 19 weeks working in one place while solar power was too low for driving during the Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is on the move again. The winter worksite ...

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

7 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

10 hours ago

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

13 hours ago

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

14 hours ago

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

15 hours ago

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VendicarD
not rated yet Oct 11, 2012
I see a little Chinese guy carrying a basket of artichokes in the top left corner of that picture.

What is NASA trying to hide?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.