NASA's Mars rover Curiosity first dig a soil sample of the Red Planet this weekend, mission scientists announced yesterday, October 4.
1-ton rover arrived at the sandy area called "Rocknest", on Wednesday, October 3. Scientists have found a place suitable for his first robot operations associated with the extraction of soil samples with the bucket, which should start on Saturday, 6 October, if all goes according to plan.
System for excavation Curiosity, which is on its 2.1-meter robotic arm, designed to deliver soil samples to two analytical instruments installed on the rover body: SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy). But the first batch of Martian sand will not fall for their intended purpose - instead, they will be used to clean the boot device, the researchers say.
Cleaning will be similar to the blast cleaning pump, with Curiosity will vigorously shake system to collect samples in a few hours.
The rover is likely to remain in Rocknest for several weeks, and with the first samples will fall into its scientific instruments, not earlier than the end of this period.
At the moment, Curiosity is on its way to a place called Glenelg, where three different types of Martian terrain, but the main purpose landed on August 6 at Mars rover is the foot of the mysterious mountain Sharp, towering in the center of a large crater Gale. Rover will search it for traces of the former presence of organic life.