Curiosity rover begins soil study of Martian sand

Close-up view of the scoop at the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

For the first time since landing, the Curiosity rover has started to study some of the sandy soil in the area up close. The rover has stopped at a sand ripple called Rocknest, which is adjacent to the Glenelg area, another primary destination for Curiosity.

According to Michael Watkins, Mission Manager for Curiosity, “We now have reached an important phase that will get the first solid samples into the analytical instruments in about two weeks. Curiosity has been so well-behaved that we have made great progress during the first two months of the mission.”

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Paul Scott Anderson is a freelance space writer with a life-long passion for space exploration and astronomy. He started his blog The Meridiani Journal in 2005, which is a chronicle of planetary exploration. He also publishes The Exoplanet Report e-paper. In 2011, he started writing about space on a freelance basis, and now also currently write for AmericaSpace and Examiner.com. He has also written for Universe Today and SpaceFlight Insider, has been published in The Mars Quarterly and has done supplementary writing for the well-known iOS app Exoplanet for iPhone and iPad.