Mast Camera (Mastcam) (MSSS-MALIN) images for Sol 726. Evaluation of a pale, flat Martian rock as the potential next drilling target for NASA's Curiosity Mars rover determined that the rock was not stable enough for safe drilling.

Mast Camera (Mastcam) (MSSS-MALIN) images for Sol 726. Evaluation of a pale, flat Martian rock as the potential next drilling target for NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover determined that the rock was not stable enough for safe drilling.

Word from JPL: The rock, called “Bonanza King,” moved slightly during the mini-drill activity on Wednesday, at an early stage of this test, when the percussion drill impacted the rock a few times to make an indentation.

Instead of drilling that or any similar rock nearby, the team has decided that Curiosity will resume driving toward its long-term destination on the slopes of a layered mountain.

It now will take a route skirting the north side of a sandy-floored valley where it turned around two weeks ago.

The rover has driven about 5.5 miles (8.8 kilometers) since landing inside Gale Crater in August 2012, and has about 2 miles (3 kilometers) remaining to reach an entry point to the slopes of Mount Sharp, in the middle of the crater.

Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 727 (2014-08-23 00:38:42 UTC). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 727 (2014-08-23 00:38:42 UTC).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

 

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