Exciting news for all of us on the planet – NASA has confirmed that the Curiosity space rover on Mars has successfully taken a sample from interior rock on the surface. Curious to see where this leads us in the future….
Earlier this month, the Mars Curiosity rover drilled into the Martian surface, in the hopes of collecting a sample from the interior of a rock. That sample could potentially teach scientists a great deal about the composition and history of Mars. Yesterday, NASA confirmed that Curiosity has successfully collected that sample.
Now that the sample collection has been confirmed, the next step is to transfer the sample to the rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. CheMin will use X-rays to examine the atomic structure of the rock. SAM will be used to check the rock for organic molecules that may indicate that life once existed on the Martian surface.
“Seeing the powder from the drill in the scoop allows us to verify for the first time the drill collected a sample as it bore into the rock,” said JPL’s Scott McCloskey in a press release. “Many of us have been working toward this day for years. Getting final confirmation of successful drilling is incredibly gratifying. For the sampling team, this is the equivalent of the landing team going crazy after the successful touchdown.”
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)