On Sept. 24, Curiosity performed a “moist chemistry” experiment for simply the second time ever throughout its seven years on the Purple Planet, dropping a drilled pattern right into a particular solvent that might assist the rover establish carbon-containing natural molecules.
We have been keen to seek out an space that will be compelling sufficient to do moist chemistry,” Paul Mahaffy, of NASA’s Goddard House Flight Middle in Greenbelt, Maryland, mentioned in an announcement. “Now that we’re within the clay-bearing unit, we have lastly bought it.”
Mahaffy is principal investigator of Curiosity’s Pattern Evaluation at Mars (SAM) instrument, which analyzes the filth and drilled rock powder that the six-wheeled rover collects because it explores the 96-mile-wide (154 kilometers) Gale Crater.
SAM has 74 cups to just accept these samples, most of that are saved dry after which baked in a miniature oven to see what gases boil off. A mere 9 cups are reserved for the particular wet-chemistry work, so the mission group has been very parsimonious of their use so far.
Curiosity had beforehand used a moist cup simply as soon as, in December 2016, shortly after the rover’s rock-boring drill malfunctioned. Mission group members weren’t certain in the event that they have been going to have the ability to repair the drill and do moist chemistry sooner or later, so that they performed the experiment utilizing some free sand that Curiosity had scooped up, NASA officers mentioned. (The group managed to repair Curiosity’s drill in 2018.)
A part of Curiosity’s upward route is seen in a brand new selfie that NASA launched final week. The image consists of 57 stitched-together photographs that the robotic captured on Oct. 11 utilizing the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a digicam mounted on the tip of Curiosity’s 7-foot-long (2.1 meters) robotic arm.
For instance, about 1,000 toes (300 m) behind Curiosity are the darkish contours of Vera Rubin Ridge, which the rover left a couple of 12 months in the past. And past the ridge is Gale Crater’s ground, which, Curiosity found, as soon as harbored a long-lived lake-and-stream system that might have supported Earth-like life within the historic previous.