Science

NASA’s Curiosity rover preparing to drill on Mars

PTI Los Angeles | Updated on March 12, 2018

This view shows the patch of veined, flat-lying rock selected as the first drilling site for NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. Photo Credit: NASA

This image of an outcrop at the "Sheepbed" locality, taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover with its right Mast Camera (Mastcam), shows show well-defined veins filled with whitish minerals, interpreted as calcium sulfate. Photo Credit: NASA

This image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows inclined layering known as cross-bedding in an outcrop called "Shaler" on a scale of a few tenths of meters, or decimeters (1 decimeter is nearly 4 inches). Photo Credit: NASA

NASA says the Curiosity rover should be ready to begin drilling on Mars soon. It’s the most highly anticipated milestone since the six-wheel, nuclear-powered rover landed near the Martian equator five months ago.

Mission managers outlined the drilling plan yesterday.

Project manager Richard Cook says the team has chosen the site where Curiosity will test its drill for the first time. The spot contains a diverse sample of rocks that the rover can pick from.

Curiosity will drive to the location in the next several days and begin drilling in the next two weeks.

The team named the drilling site “John Klein” after a deputy project manager who died in 2011.

Curiosity is on a two-year mission to determine whether the dusty, cold planet was habitable.

Published on January 16, 2013

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