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Mars rover touches Martian rock for the first time

Washington, Sep 26 (): NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover for the first time touched Martian rock using its robotic arm, and then it took off during its longest Mars drive, after which Curiosity rover has continued driving.

The robot of Curiosity pushed its robotic arm against a rock to evaluate the atomic features and elements present in it.

The rock is named after late rover engineer “Jake Matijevic.” The rock is not estimated to have great research value. But, it is considered as an opportunity to determine the robotic arm’s X-ray spectrometer and “hand lens” performance.

The tools in the robotic arm include the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) that measures the elemental composition of the Martian rock and the Mars Hand Lens Imager close-up camera, or MAHLI.

Researchers said, the rover did these initial operations by contacting the rocks on Saturday and Sunday. The photos snapped during the operation show the robotic arm of Curiosity sidling up against the rock “Jake Matijevic.”

Curiosity rover is now moving towards a new place called Glenelg. This new site lies 400 meters (1,300 feet) from the Curiosity rover’s first touchdown site. The mission team said before starting their Monday’s drive Curiosity was halfway to Glenelg.

The next try for the scientist is to test the Curiosity’s scooping structure and they will begin searching for a sandy location. Martian soil will be deposited into analytical instruments SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) found on rover’s on board laboratories making use of robotic arms.

Nasa’s $2.6bn undertaking touched Red Planet on August 6. Since then, most of the time has been used up for commissioning the hugely complex, six-wheeled robotic machine and the 10 instruments found in it.

As the Mars mission progresses, ChemCam which is a infrared laser instrument and APXS, along with Mahli, will be utilised to survey crater’s surface and its interesting rocks. When they identify an interesting target, the drill will acquire a sample for detailed scrutiny in the onboard laboratories.

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