Mars rover readies first rock drilling



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Thursday 17 January 2013

Last update 17 January 2013 5:10 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

WASHINGTON: The Mars rover Curiosity will soon begin to drill into the Red Planet for the first time, mission officials said Tuesday ahead of the highly anticipated endeavor.
Scientists behind the $ 2.5 billion mission also explained the nature of the small “Martian flower,” which had caused a lot of buzz online because it was strikingly different from the surrounding rock.
Aileen Yingst, of the Planetary Science Institute, said that what could have passed as a flower was in fact a relatively large mineral grain or pebble.
“All of these are sedimentary rocks, telling us Mars had environments actively depositing material here,” Yingst said. “The different grain sizes tell us about different transport conditions.”
Curiosity is traveling toward a flat rock with pale veins that scientists hope will provide clues about any water that might have existed on Mars. “Drilling into a rock to collect a sample will be this mission’s most challenging activity since the (Aug. 6) landing. It has never been done on Mars,” said Richard Cook of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “The drill hardware interacts energetically with Martian material we don’t control. We won’t be surprised if some steps in the process don’t go exactly as planned the first time through.”
Curiosity will collect samples from inside the “John Klein” rock — named in honor of a former Mars Science Laboratory deputy project manager who died in 2012 — and analyze them to determine their chemical and mineral composition.
The rover’s cameras have shown several unexpected features on the rock, including veins, nodules, cross-bedded layering, a lustrous pebble embedded in sandstone and possibly some holes in the ground.
The mission, set to last at least two years, aims to study the Martian environment to prepare for a possible future manned mission.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to send humans to the planet by 2030.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

MADINAH/JEDDAH: Pilgrims and visitors performing tawaf (circumambulation) of the Holy Kaaba or praying around it may look forward to relief from the blazing sun, as a proposal to shade the Mataf area is being studied.According to local media, the mat...
JEDDAH: Users of WhatsApp were a joyous lot on Saturday as the call facility finally became available on the popular messaging service in the Kingdom.The facility, which is for free now, through WhatsApp was earlier banned in Saudi Arabia and only me...
TAIF: Terrorists can carry out reconnaissance missions in the guise of beggars, even wearing the abaya, and pose a serious threat to the security of the nation, an expert has warned.“Begging is a bad phenomenon anyway. However, it can pose a serious...
RIYADH: A Border Guard soldier died on Saturday in a missile attack from across the Yemeni border in Dhahran Al-Jonoub in Asir.The man, identified as Pvt. Abdulilah Abdullah Hamoud Al-Shahrani, was patrolling the border in the area when the attack to...
RIYADH: Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman takes pride in his religion and his country, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) chairman.“King Salman lives his life in a confident and re...
RIYADH: Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani and Khaled Al-Muhaisin, the president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha), are scheduled to meet soon to clear resolve differences between Nazaha and Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). According...
JEDDAH: Starbucks has clarified that the ban on women’s entry at one of its Riyadh stores is only temporary and that the coffee shop will be opened to them soon after a separation wall is erected.Starbucks reportedly said that members of the Committe...
RIYADH: The Saudi government is strongly supporting the development of organic farming and institutional capacity building as part of an ambitious plan to expand the Kingdom’s shift toward organic agriculture, which will be good for the country’s nut...
RIYADH: An attempt to smuggle in 2.4 million amphetamine pills was foiled along the coast of Tabuk.An Interior Ministry spokesman said the traffickers fled from the coast after they were chased by Border Guard patrols.The spokesman said a suspect boa...
RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) closed the booths of five companies which participated in the recently concluded five-day Career Week because of lack of interest in employing applicants.Career Week, held under the auspices of Custodian of Two Holy...
RIYADH: The Kingdom has been developing Oroug Bani Maradh as a protected area for eco-tourism in the heart of the Empty Quarter.Aside from a number of live flora and fauna, there’s are non-domesticated animal species in the wildlife sanctuary located...
JEDDAH: Two women and three children, including an infant, lost their lives in separate fire incidents on Friday.A woman and two children died when their tent caught fire at Al-Issawi, 35 km into the desert, on Friday. The operations room of Civil De...
RIYADH: Arrangements are being made at the Ministry of Health to open a new portal for the Zika virus on its website.Faisal Al-Zahrani, the ministry spokesman, said that the new portal will give adequate details and updates about the virus which has...
ARAR: A Saudi father has urged his two sons to immediately surrender, after their names recently appeared on the list of suspects who participated in the terror attack on the Special Emergency Forces Mosque in Asir in August last year.Salem Yaslam Al...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Education has called on schools to implement a national anti-drug plan and given a four-month period to implement the plan and report the results.Educational directorates, according to a recent circular, have issued a directiv...

Stay Connected

Facebook