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Curiosity's first scooping activity appeared to go well on Oct. 7. Subsequently, the rover team decided to refrain from using the rover's robotic arm on Oct. 8 due to the detection of a bright object on the ground that might be a piece from the rover. Instead of arm activities during the 62nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission, Curiosity is acquiring additional imaging of the object to aid the team in identifying the object and assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling...


On the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012),NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its soil scoop for the first time, collecting a scoopful of sand and powdery material at the "Rocknest" site. Imaging verified collection of the sample. The collected material will be used for cleaning interior surfaces of the rover's sample-handling mechanism. It will be held and vibrated inside each chamber of the mechanism before the material is discarded. Curiosity's Collection and Handling...


On Sol 58 (Oct. 4, 2012) Curiosity maneuvered its arm to use instruments for close-up examination of sandy material at the "Rocknest" site. The inspections with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) focused on targets in and near a wheel scuff that Curiosity made on the preceding sol to freshly expose material in a wind-sculpted ripple. These activities were preparation for planned first use of the rover's scoop.

A Sol 58 raw...


NASA's Curiosity rover is in a position on Mars where scientists and engineers can begin preparing the rover to take its first scoop of soil for analysis.

Curiosity is the centerpiece of the two-year Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover's ability to put soil samples into analytical instruments is central to assessing whether its present location on Mars, called Gale Crater, ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. Mineral analysis can reveal past...


On Sol 56 (Oct. 2, 2012), Curiosity drove about 20 feet (6 meters) westward to reach a ripple of sand and dust deposited by the wind at a soil patch called "Rocknest." This site is a potential target for the rover's first use of its scoop, which the team will be evaluating over the next few days.

Activities on Sol 56 also included monitoring the environment around Curiosity with the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument, and...


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