Curiosity update: A very, very, very good day on Mars

2068ML0109800000801056E01_DXXX-br2Sols 2070-72, June 4, 2018, update by MSL scientist Abigail Fraeman: Every single day that the Curiosity team gets to go into work and operate a one-ton rover on the surface of Mars is a good day. But last Friday was not just your typical good day — it was a very, very, very good day. In my personal opinion, it was probably one of the top five most excellent planning days we’ve had on the mission to date. Early Friday morning we learned that the Feed Extended Sample Transfer (FEST) drop-off of the “Duluth” drill sample to CheMin worked. This means we had enough rock powder in the instrument to measure its mineralogy.

Most importantly, now that we’ve demonstrated this critical step on Mars, the team can officially say that Curiosity’s drilling and sample transfer capabilities have been restored. This represents a huge accomplishment for the tireless engineers who’ve worked over a year to learn to operate the vehicle in a way it was never designed to work. It’s also an extremely exciting time for the science team, as we are eager to learn the key information CheMin and SAM will provide and further unravel the history of Gale Crater. The scientists and engineers at JPL celebrated this accomplishment with a joyous afternoon cookie break… [More at link; see also JPL story on how the procedure was developed here]

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