Curiosity Rover Resumes Drilling for Water on Martian Surface Again

Curiosity

 

The curiosity rover has resumed drilling for water on the Martian surface again. NASA scientists believe that the findings further support the evidence that there was once liquid or water on mars. Curiosity is drilling the second sample of Martian rock.

The robotic rover has carved a large chunk out of the surface using its low percussion level drilling. The powdered form of the rock has been fed using the rover’s chemistry and mineralogy instruments. The drill actually has six different percussion-level settings that it uses.

Those settings range from gentle tapping, to very rapid banging all of those at 30 seconds per second. The drill can automatically adjust its settings based on how fast or slow it breaks through the rock. The robotic rover started digging using the percussion-level one setting around the Mojave 2, at the base of Mount Sharp. The rover reached full depth of 2.6 inches or 6.5 centimeters within the first ten minutes using the first and second levels of percussion energy. The Curiosity drill is a lot like a hammer and chisel.

The Curiosity Rover was originally launched on November 26, 2011 aboard the MSL spacecraft. The rover landed the Aeolis Palus of gale Crater on August 6, of 2012. The rover has four categorical goals that include Biological, Planetary Process, surface radiation, and geological/geochemical.

The Curiosity rover is supposed to determine the nature and inventory of organic compounds, and investigate the chemical building blocks of life. The rover is also programmed to study the composition of the Martian surface, and interpret the processes that have formed rocks and soils. All of the data captured by the rover is important to build a future manned mission. In the meantime the Curiosity rover is going to resume drilling for water on the Martian surface and send back data to be analyzed.

The HiRise camera inside the NASA Mars reconnaissance orbiter captured images of both Mars rovers from satellite imagery. Mars has two rovers on the planet surface analyzing the Martian soil. The other rover is called “Opportunity.” The rover can be seen at the Pahrump Hills area of Gale Crater. Pahrump Hills is an outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp. There are sedimentary rocks in that region in which scientists believe were formed by the presence of water. The bright landscape is also surrounded by sand.

The Rover has a mass of 899 KG (1,982 lb), and 80 KG or 180 pounds of scientific instruments. The rover itself is 2.9 Meters, or 9.5 feet long, by 8.9 feet wide, and 7.2 feet or 2.2 meters in height. The power source of the Curiosity is similar to the Viking 1 and 2 mars landers of 1976. It uses a radioisotope thermoelectric generator. The rover has two identical on board computers which contain radiation hardened memory to withstand the high levels of radiation from space. Each computer can hold up to 2 GB of flash memory.

The samples dug up from the scene produced high amounts of jarosite. Jarosite is an oxidized mineral comprised of iron and sulphur. Jarosite is generally formed in acidic environments, which could mean the Martian surface could be more acidic than originally thought. The Curiosity rover is going to resume drilling for water on the Martian surface again indefinitely, after its two-year mission was extended.

By Scott Andes

Sources

Curiosity’s Relaxed Drilling Hints at Ancient Acidic Water on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity Rover Looks Like a Tiny Rivet on Mar’s Surface

Mar’s Curiosity Rover is Busy Drilling Again

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