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NASA: Mars Curiosity Rover’s Labs Are Back in Action

The rover drilled its last scheduled rock sample in October 2016

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NASA, Microsoft
After lettuce, astronauts could grow beans in space in 2021. Pixabay

For the first time in more than a year, the Curiosity rover is analysing drilled samples on Mars in one of its onboard labs, NASA has said.

“This was no small feat. It represents months and months of work by our team to pull this off,” said Jim Erickson, project manager of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, which is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

NASA engineers had to improvise a new way for the rover to drill rocks on Mars after a mechanical problem took the drill offline in December 2016.

The rover drilled its last scheduled rock sample in October 2016.

An image of Mars.
Mars. Pixabay

On May 20, a technique called “feed extended drilling” allowed Curiosity to drill its first rock sample since October 2016.

On May 31, an additional technique called “feed extended sample transfer” successfully trickled rock powder into the rover for processing by its mineralogy laboratory.

Also Read: NASA’s Dawn Mission- New Orbit, New Opportunities

Delivery to its chemistry laboratory will follow in the week ahead, NASA said on Monday.

Testing of both the new drilling method and sample delivery will continue to be refined as Curiosity’s engineers study their results from Mars. (IANS)

Next Story

This NASA Scientist is so Excited about Mercury Transit. Here’s Why

The tiny planet traveled directly between Earth and the sun on Monday, creating a perfect alignment

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NASA, Scientist, Mercury
The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, low center, from Washington, as it transits across the face of the Sun, Nov. 11, 2019. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls). VOA

Stargazers witnessed a rare celestial event on Monday, as Mercury passed directly across the face of the sun.NASA

Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet and closest to the sun, won’t make the next such transit until 2032.

The tiny planet traveled directly between Earth and the sun on Monday, creating a perfect alignment.

The best views of the event took place in North and South America, while viewers in Europe and Africa were able to see part of Mercury’s passage.

NASA, Scientist, Mercury
Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet and closest to the sun, won’t make the next such transit until 2032. Pixabay

Stargazers had to use solar-filtered binoculars and telescopes to spot Mercury, which appeared as a small black dot on the face of the sun.

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For those who could not see the event directly, the U.S. Space agency, NASA, live-streamed images of the celestial transit, which took about five and a half hours. (VOA)