Mars rover drills hole into rock; NASA cheers
For the first time, a robot has drilled into a rock on Mars and collected a sample, and scientists are patting themselves on the back. The likelihood of high-fives also is extremely high.
The Curiosity rover has extended its robotic arm and used the drill carried there to bore a hole 0.63 of an inch wide and 2.5 inches deep into John Klein, as the Martian rock was dubbed. Within that hole, scientists believe, is evidence of the wet environments that existed on Mars eons ago.
The successful use of the drill alone has scientists in a tizzy. This means that Curiosity is “a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars,” said John Grunsfeld, with NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a news release.
“This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August,” Grunsfeld said.
Twitter geeks were applauding: “Holey Mars exploration Batman!” tweeted Sustainable2.
Mission project manager Richard Cook said in January that the drilling was the most significant engineering that the team has done since landing.
As the Los Angeles Times' Amina Khan reported, Cook said the terrain was a big unknown and thus, a big challenge. The area Curiosity rolled into is known as Yellowknife Bay, a place very different from the landing site at Gale Crater.
“It's like we entered a whole different world,” said mission lead scientist John Grotzinger.
Developing the tools to tackle “unpredictable rocks” in unknown terrain required a lot of painstaking work beforehand, said Louise Jandura in Saturday's news release.
Jandura of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada-Flintridge, Calif., said, “To get to the point of making this hole in a rock on Mars, we made eight drills and bored more than 1,200 holes in 20 types of rock on Earth.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Arizona county clears girl shooter in gun range death
- Va.’s first couple, former Gov. and Mrs. McDonnell, often together, FBI agent testifies
- Invasive species in Great Lakes partially blamed on anglers
- U.S. waffling on ISIS feeds confusion among possible allies
- Death Valley ‘sailing rocks’ linked to freeze-warm cycle
- Southern Calif. high surf expected to subside today
- Study examines body’s bacteria on move indoors
- Judge reaffirms Texas’ ‘Robin Hood’ system of school funding unconstitutional
- Feds strip Oklahoma of education funding decisions
- Military pilot was killed in Va. crash
- Doctor’s license reinstated pending hearing in W.Va.