Mars rover drill collects rock sample
Rover's drill collected samples from Gale Crater on Mars.
February 9th, 2013
05:13 PM ET

Mars rover drill collects rock sample

A space-age jack of all trades, NASA's Curiosity rover recorded a first by using its drill to collect a sample from a Martian rock.

The rover sent images of the hole in sedimentary bedrock to Earth on Saturday, NASA said in a statement.

NASA said the rover will analyze the rock powder sample.

The flat rock is believed to hold evidence of wet environments that disappeared long ago, officials said.

Curiosity used a drill attached to the end of its robotic arm. It's the first time any robot has drilled such a sample on the Red Planet.

"The most advanced planetary robot ever designed now is a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars," said John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the agency's Science Mission Directorate. "This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August, another proud day for America."

In its first two months on Mars, Curiosity stumbled upon an area where it appears that water once flowed in a vigorous stream. Scientists said the rover spotted rock outcrops that seem to have formed in the presence of water, with rounded gravels that may have been transported by water.

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Filed under: In Space • Mars • Robots

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