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: Lockheed Martin successfully mates NOAA GOES-R satellite modules

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

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

9 hours ago

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

9 hours ago

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

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?