NASA’s Curiosity Rover has collected the rock sample from Mars

Holes in the rock made by Curiosity Rover (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has successfully collected the sample from the interior of the flat, veiny rock on Mars. This is the first time that a man-made robot has collected the sample from inside the rock on another planet.

The robot drilled and made a hole about 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) wide and 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep in the rock, which is supposed to have the evidence for some wet environment in the past.

“We commanded the first full-depth drilling, and we believe we have collected sufficient material from the rock to meet our objectives of hardware cleaning and sample drop-off,” Avi Okon, drill cognizant engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement.

The rover will use the different in-built laboratory instruments including rover’s Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device to check the rock powder. The sample of the powder from the rocks will be sieved and small portions will fall through ports on the rover deck into the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument that will make the detailed analysis.

“The most advanced planetary robot ever designed is now 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.”