NASA's Curiosity Rover To Analyze Third Scoop Of Martian Soil
October 18, 2012

NASA’s Curiosity Rover To Analyze Third Scoop Of Martian Soil

[Watch the Video: Curiosity Rover Report Oct. 12, 2012]

Lee Rannals for — Your Universe Online

NASA said that they have discarded Curiosity's second scoop it has taken of Martian soil, and were planning to gather a third scoop earlier this week on Sol 69 (Oct. 15, 2012).

Curiosity has taken on archaeological studies over at a site named "Rocknest," where it dug up its first sample of Martian soil on Sol 61 (Oct. 7).

It collected its second scoopful on Sol 66 (Oct. 12), but later the sample was discarded due to concerns about it being contaminated.

An image taken by Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera shows a small bright object on the ground beside the rover (see main image above).

This object is about half an inch long, and NASA determined that it is most likely debris from the spacecraft, maybe even from its "seven minutes of terror" landing event.

Now that the second scoop has been discarded, NASA has its Curiosity rover working on its third scoop.

This scoop was taken earlier this week, and is planned to be delivered to the rover's internal analytical instrument, Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin), for the first time.

Another scoopful of soil will become the first solid sample for delivery to the rover's other internal analytical instrument, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

NASA has set a teleconference for later today (3 p.m. EDT Oct. 18) to discuss updates about the Curiosity mission on Mars.