Curiosity update: Searching for softer pastures

NLB_573442674EDR_F0680580NCAM00207M_-br2Sol 1984, March 5, 2018, update by MSL scientist Scott Guzewich: Vera Rubin Ridge is as hard as a rock! After two drilling attempts, Curiosity’s drill was not able to dig into the bedrock sufficiently to collect a sample of rock at this location. Curiosity’s engineers are continuing to refine the new drilling method. In the future, this might include adding percussion, which could enable drilling into harder rock. After learning this, the science team planned a series of Mastcam and ChemCam “passive” and LIBS observations of the attempted drill hole at “Lake Orcadie 2″ (covered up by the turret in this image) in addition to contact science on the drill “tailings” (the powdered bits of rock ground up by the drill) with MAHLI and APXS. A ChemCam passive observation uses the instrument’s ability to detect different wavelengths of light to get a sense of a rock’s composition without using the laser to vaporize… [More at link]

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