Curiosity Rover to Drill Into Mars Rock Named Windjana

Posted on April 30, 2014

NASA's Curiosity rover is getting ready to drill into a new rock on Mars. The target slab of sandstone is named "Windjana" after a gorge in Western Australia.

Curiosity science team member Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, says in a statement, "In the brushed spot, we can see that the rock is fine-grained, its true color is much grayer than the surface dust, and some portions of the rock are harder than others, creating the interesting bumpy textures. All of these traits reinforce our interest in drilling here in order understand the chemistry of the fluids that bound these grains together to form the rock."

The animation below shows before and after views of a patch of sandstone scrubbed with the Dust Removal Tool, a wire-bristle brush on the Mars rover. The images were both taken April 26, 2014. NASA shared the animation on its Instagram account, @NASA.

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