Astronomy Magazine

Fresh from Curiosity

Posted on the 23 August 2012 by Ningauble

NASA’s Curiosity rover is… Well… Roving. I told you about the sci-fi laser attack on Martian rock recently. Researchers noticed common elements like oxygen and carbon in Coronation as well as trace elements like titanium, manganese, and lithium.

And now, following a successful wheel test, the probe moved forward about 9 feet, turned 120 degrees, and backed up a few feet.

Curiosity beamed back some incredible images of its tracks, which tell scientists that the soil is firm, great for mobility, and won’t cause the rover to sink much.

After the rover’s short trip, the ChemCam was also fired at a few spots on the Goulburn scour, a small outcropping uncovered by Curiosity’s landing-stage engines. The analysis shows that the rocks in this area, as well as at Coronation, are probably basalt, a typical byproduct of volcanic processes.

Also, NASA officials have decided to name Curiosity’s touchdown spot Bradbury Landing, after the late Ray Bradbury, who would have been 92 today. Well played, NASA.

 

N.

 

Fresh from Curiosity

 

 

Fresh from Curiosity

 

 

 

Fresh from Curiosity

Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech


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