NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is set to begin drilling, according to a release. The rover will take rock samples in coming days, which will give insight into water’s history on the red planet.
NASA engineers will be looking to see if the rock they have chosen – a flat stone with pale veins – contains hydrated calcium sulfate, which is formed in veins when water circulates.
The rock picked for drilling is in a region where Curiosity’s cameras have recorded cross-bedded layering, veins, nodules and a lustrous pebble embedded in what appears to be sandstone.
The first samples that Curiosity takes will be used to scrub its drill clean of any materials that may have been transported from Earth. The rover will then analyze samples for markers specific to the presence of water.
Image: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)