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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 charts roadmap for human missions to Moon, Mars. Pixabay
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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)

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Another Space Telescope Shuts Down: NASA

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA's Great Observatories series.

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NASA, space
Second Space Telescope Shuts Down, NASA Says Pixabay

Another NASA space telescope has shut down and halted science observations.

Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went offline, the Chandra X-ray Observatory did the same thing. NASA said Friday that Chandra automatically went into so-called safe mode Wednesday, possibly because of a gyroscope problem.

Hubble went into hibernation last Friday because of a gyroscope failure.

NASA
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Chandra X-ray Observatory. On Oct. 12, 2018, the space agency said that the telescope automatically went into so-called safe mode on Oct. 10, possibly because of a gyroscope problem. VOA

Both orbiting observatories are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28, while Chandra is 19. Flight controllers are working to resume operations with both.

NASA said it’s coincidental both went “asleep” within a week of one another. An astronomer who works on Chandra, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted Friday that “Chandra decided that if Hubble could have a little vacation, it wanted one, too.”

Also Read: Astronomers Capture 15,000 Galaxies Using Hubble Telescope

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA’s Great Observatories series. The others are the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which was also launched in the 1990s but eventually failed and was destroyed, and the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 and still working. Each was intended to observe the cosmos in different wavelengths. (VOA)

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