This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the 'Mojave' site, where its drill collected the mission's second taste of Mount Sharp. The scene combines dozens of images taken during January 2015 by the MAHLI camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, developed, built and operates the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the ‘Mojave’ site, where its drill collected the mission’s second taste of Mount Sharp. The scene combines dozens of images taken during January 2015 by the MAHLI camera at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, developed, built and operates the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has drilled into a rock target called “Telegraph Peak.” The hole has a diameter slightly smaller than a U.S. dime.

This new hole is the third drilling site in outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp – an outcrop the mission has been investigating for five months.

By inspecting layers of this mountain, scientists expect the data to reveal records of how ancient wet environments on Mars evolved into drier environments.

Curiosity’s Mastcam: Right image taken by Curiosity on Sol 908 (2015-02-25).   Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Mastcam: Right image taken by Curiosity on Sol 908 (2015-02-25).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The sample-collection drilling at Telegraph Peak was the first in Curiosity’s 30 months on Mars to be conducted without a preliminary “mini drill” test of the rock’s suitability for drilling. The rover used a low-percussion-level drilling technique.

The rock-powder sample from Telegraph Peak goes to the rover’s internal Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument for identification of minerals. After that analysis, the team may also choose to deliver sample material to Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of laboratory instruments, according to a statement from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, took this image on February 25, 2015, Sol 908. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, took this image on February 25, 2015, Sol 908.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The rover’s next major move is to wheel through a narrow valley called “Artist’s Drive,” which will lead the robot along a strategically planned route higher on the basal layer of Mount Sharp.

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