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Two Mars Rovers: Armed for Action!

Curiosity rover working within shallow depression called "Yellowknife Bay". Credit: NASA/JPL

NASA's Opportunity rover, busy at work at the rim of Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL

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

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