Curiosity Update: Time to Drill!

By Andrew Baglini
1/21/2013 10:39:29 AM

Over the winter holidays, Curiosity took a little vacation at Grandma's House, a location informally named by the Mars Science Laboratory scientists. Curiosity was pre-loaded with activities to keep it busy, while the scientists got a chance to spend holidays with their friends and family. Pre-loading activities is something that will come in handy this April, when they experience solar conjunction, which is when the sun is position between the Earth and Mars, which interrupts the ability to communicate with the rover for about two weeks.

During the holidays, Curiosity acquired a nice 360 degree panorama. The science team also downloaded as much data from the rover as possible, to free up memory and give Curiosity a fresh start to the new year. The team is particularly excited for it's next task, as the rover is now hunting for their first suitable rock to drill, using the Rotary Percussive Drill. This will be the first time they are drilling into a rock, acquiring a sample from deep inside the rock, and returning that sample to the science instruments aboard Curiosity.