CheMin analyzes first drilled sample on Mars

CheMin analyzes first drilled sample on Mars
CheMin analyzes first drilled sample on Mars

Left image: At the center is the hole in a rock called “John Klein” where the Curiosity rover conducted its first sample drilling on Mars. The sample-collection hole is 0.63 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter and 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep. The “mini drill” test hole near it is the same diameter, with a depth of 0.8 inch (2 centimeters). The image was obtained by Curiosiy’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Feb. 8, or Sol 182, Curiosity’s 182nd day on Mars.

Right image: The first sample of powdered rock extracted by the rover’s drill. The sample will be sieved, and portions of it delivered to the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments. The image was obtained by Curiosity’s Mast Camera on Feb. 20, or Sol 193. The image has been white-balanced to show what the sample would look like if it were on Earth.

In the nominal plan, CheMin will analyze its first sample of drilled rock on Friday, Feb. 22, with a downlink of the data between 10:30 PM Friday night and 0530 Saturday morning. The team is very excited about the results of this analysis, which if successfully completed, will tell us the environment in which the rock was formed, and the potential for it to contain or preserve organic materials.