Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sol 280: Drilling Cumberland

Yestersol (sol 279) was drilling day and once again the rover's tool has got obtained another sample of Martian rock. Truly astonishing! MAHLI images were taken of the drill hole afterwards. Here is one below:
MAHLI view of the drill hole (NASA/JPL/MSSS)
A neat blinking image showing the before and after drilling scenes helps to give an idea of how much shaking is actually involved. Notice the changed positions of pebbles and gravel in the image below.
Sol 275 compared to sol 279 view (NASA/JPL/MSSS)
Judging from the image timestamps on the raw imagery site, I estimate the time to drill took no more than 30 minutes. Below is another gif animation of the entire day of activity for sol 279 as viewed by the right eye of the front hazard avoidance cameras. You'll notice the drill as a 3 pronged looking device with the 2 side prongs contacting the surface for stability during drilling. The prong in the middle is the drill head itself which also doubles as a core sampler for sampling the material collected by the drill threads. This sample will later on be given to the analytical instruments CheMin and SAM for further analysis.
A day on Mars with Curiosity.
Observant readers will notice that at some
point in the animation the rover
looks like it has been lifted slightly
by the way the frame shifts upwards.
This occurs due to the amount of downward force
applied by the robotic arm on the rock in order
to maintain stability during drilling. Thus the rover is lifted
slightly as a result.
 (NASA/JPL/animation by Abraham Samma)