Two Mars Rovers: Armed for Action!
At two distant locations on Mars, NASA rovers are “strong arming” the planet.
The Curiosity rover is busy working with its robot arm to help researchers choose a rock to drill within the shallow depression named “Yellowknife Bay”.
Meanwhile, the Opportunity rover is using its robot arm to an outcrop, called “Copper Cliff.” This outcrop shows a distinct contact between two geologic units.
For Curiosity, scientists early next year – just a few weeks away – will use a percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock. That’s a feat never before attempted on Mars. After the powdered-rock sample is sieved and portioned by a sample-processing mechanism on the rover’s arm, it will be analyzed by instruments inside Curiosity.
As for the Opportunity rover, it is surveying surface targets now within reach of its sensor-laden robotic arm. The plan ahead is to perform more in-situ (contact) science on surface targets within reach of the rover’s robotic arm before moving to other locations.
By Leonard David