This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 759 (2014-09-24 23:58:36 UTC). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 759 (2014-09-24 23:58:36 UTC).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Curiosity Mars rover has been busy munching into a mountain – an outcrop on Mount Sharp.

The robot’s hammering drill collected a powdered sample of rock. The powder collected by the drilling is temporarily held within the sample-handling mechanism on the rover’s arm.

Curiosity arrived Sept. 19 at an outcrop called “Pahrump Hills,” which is a section of the mountain’s basal geological unit, called the Murray formation.

Curiosity Mars Rover’s route from landing to “Pahrump Hills.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Curiosity Mars Rover’s route from landing to “Pahrump Hills.”
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

The next step will be to deliver the rock-powder sample into a scoop on the rover’s arm. In the open scoop, the powder’s texture can be observed for an assessment of whether it is safe for further sieving, portioning and delivery into Curiosity’s internal laboratory instruments without clogging hardware.

Those instruments can perform many types of analysis to identify chemistry and mineralogy of the source rock.

 

The NASA Mars machinery landed on the Red Planet in August 2012.

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