The year 2019 began with a bittersweet note for NASA with the unfortunate demise of Opportunity's incredibly reliable vehicle on Mars. It was a sad day for the scientific community as a whole, but it was not the only rover navigating the Red Planet, and NASA's Curiosity rover continued its star job even when (probably) regrets the loss of its comrade.
Now, continuing his quest to learn more about the Martian landscape, Curiosity has successfully drilled another hole in a new location, securing a sample that the robot will soon badyze.
In a new blog post, NASA's Curiosity team reveals the successful attempt to drill a target that has been dubbed "Aberlady." The rock is one of the many that Curiosity has tested since it landed on Mars in 2012, but the data it provides is No less important.
"We will start the Sol 2372 plan with a small scientific block to badyze 2 targets with ChemCam: the inside of the drill hole (Aberlady) and a nearby rocky target. Mayar & # 39 ;. We will also use Navcam to drive a powder. "The next step in our drilling campaign is to determine if we collect samples of pulverized rock and if it is behaving as expected."
This may seem like a normal day for Curiosity, and in many ways it is, but the fact that Curiosity is successful anything At this point it is a testament to NASA's ingenuity. You see, Curiosity is not drilling things the way it was originally designed, and after an unexpected failure at the end of 2017, NASA engineers were forced to find a new way for the rover to use its drill.
Originally, Curiosity was designed to hold your drilling instrument against a surface using stabilizing arms before extending the drill bit. Unfortunately, the mechanism that really extended the bit failed and NASA had to invent a new method. After testing several techniques, NASA finally ordered Curiosity to physically push the drill against its targets with its robotic arm, renouncing the use of stabilization poles.
As you can see from the hole in the photo above, the new method has proven useful, and Curiosity has been able to continue its work despite the unfortunate failure.
Image source: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS