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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drilled into its first rock this week, completing another test on the red planet.
Bobak Ferdowski, Curiosity’s Mohawk-donning flight director who became famous after the Rover’s landing in August, tweeted, “We tapped this rock on Mars with our drill. Keep it classy everyone” on Sunday.
According to Fox News, this brings the one-ton robot another step closer to initial full-bore drilling.
The rover’s Twitter account tweeted, “Knock, knock, knocking on Mars. See the mark I left by a percussion test; necessary prep for drilling” on Monday.
The robot can drill one inch into rocks on Mars, which is more than any rover in the past. The goal of drilling is to look for signs of past life on the planet.
Curiosity’s team aims to test if its Gale Crater landing site was ever habituated by microbial life.
Richard Cook, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory project manager said in a statement, “drilling into a rock to collect a sample will be this mission's most challenging activity since the landing. It has never been done on Mars. The drill hardware interacts energetically with Martian material we don't control.”
Photo Courtesy of TwitPic