[meteorite-list] NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Wrapping Up Waypoint Work

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2014 15:14:19 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201405152214.s4FMEJvr005890_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

NASA Mars Rover Curiosity Wrapping Up Waypoint Work
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
May 15, 2014

Portions of powdered rock collected by drilling into a sandstone target
last week have been delivered to laboratory instruments inside NASA's
Curiosity Mars rover, and the rover will soon drive on toward its
long-term destination on a mountain slope.

Other instruments on the rover have inspected the rock's interior
exposed in the hole and in drill cuttings heaped around the hole. The
target rock, "Windjana," is a sandstone slab within a science waypoint
area called "The Kimberley."

The camera and spectrometer at the end of Curiosity's robotic arm
examined the texture and composition of the cuttings. The instrument
that fires a laser from atop the rover's mast zapped a series of points
inside the hole with sharpshooter accuracy.

The rover team has decided not to drill any other rock target at this
waypoint. In coming days, Curiosity will resume driving toward Mount
Sharp, the layered mountain at the middle of Mars' Gale Crater. The
rover is carrying with it some of the powdered sample material from
Windjana that can be delivered for additional internal laboratory
analysis during pauses in the drive.

The mission's two previous rock-drilling sites, at mudstone targets,
yielded evidence last year of an ancient lakebed environment with key
chemical elements and a chemical energy source that long ago provided
conditions favorable for microbial life.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess
ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian
environmental conditions. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division
of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, built the rover and
manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about Curiosity, visit 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

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov
Received on Thu 15 May 2014 06:14:19 PM PDT

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