[meteorite-list] NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Scoping Out Next Study Area
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 17:22:25 -0700 (PDT)
NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Scoping Out Next Study Area
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
April 03, 2014
On Wednesday, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover drove the last 98 feet feet
(30 meters) needed to arrive at a site planned since early 2013 as a destination
for studying rock clues about ancient environments that may have been
favorable for life.
The rover reached a vantage point for its cameras to survey four different
types of rock intersecting in an area called "the Kimberley," after a
region of western Australia.
"This is the spot on the map we've been headed for, on a little rise that
gives us a great view for context imaging of the outcrops at the Kimberley,"
said Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.
Rice is the science planning lead for what are expected to be several
weeks of observations, sample-drilling and onboard laboratory analysis
of the area's rocks.
With arrival at this location, Curiosity has driven at total of 3.8 miles
(6.1 kilometers) since landing inside Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012.
The mission's investigations at the Kimberley are planned as the most
extensive since Curiosity spent the first half of 2013 in an area called
Yellowknife Bay. At Yellowknife Bay, the one-ton rover examined the first
samples ever drilled from rocks on Mars and found the signature of an
ancient lakebed environment providing chemical ingredients and energy
necessary for life.
At the Kimberley and, later, at outcrops on the slope of Mount Sharp inside
Gale Crater, researchers plan to use Curiosity's science instruments to
learn more about habitable past conditions and environmental changes.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages
the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate,
Washington. The project designed and built Curiosity and operates the
rover on Mars.
For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl ,
http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/. You can follow
the mission on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.
Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
Received on Thu 03 Apr 2014 08:22:25 PM PDT