Friday, October 19, 2012

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Bites and Swallows First Soil Sample

Three bite marks left in the Martian ground by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are visible in this image taken by the rover's right Navigation Camera during the mission's 69th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 15, 2012). 

The third scoopful, collected on that sol, left the bite or pit farthest to the right. Each of the three bites is about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide.


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has swallowed its first tiny bite of Martian soil, after standing down for a spell while scientists checked out some strange bright bits in the dirt.

The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover ingested the minuscule sample. which contains about as much material as a baby aspirin.

The soil has been successfully delivered to the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, or CheMin, mission scientists announced.

"We are crossing a significant threshold for this mission by using CheMin on its first sample," Curiosity lead scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement.

This image shows part of the small pit or bite created when NASA's Mars rover Curiosity collected its second scoop of Martian soil at a sandy patch called "Rocknest."

This image was taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on Curiosity's arm during the 69th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Oct. 15, 2012).


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