Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Check-up Image After Delivering Martian Rock Powder

The left Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took this image of Curiosity's sample-processing and delivery tool just after the tool delivered a portion of powdered rock into the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. This Collection and Handling for In-situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) tool delivered portions of the first sample ever acquired from the interior of a rock on Mars into both SAM and the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. The delivery to CheMin was during the 195th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Feb. 22, 2013). The delivery to SAM and subsequent repositioning of CHIMRA to present this side toward Mastcam, were on Sol 196 (Feb. 23, 2013). 

The opening of CHIMRA's portion delivery tube is visible inside the "C" shape at the center of the image, which is part of a wind guard. The opening is about 0.16 inch (4 millimeters) in diameter. Portions containing about half as much material as in an aspirin tablet were dropped through that opening into each instrument. The image was taken to check whether sample material remained in the tube opening after portion delivery. 

The image has been white-balanced to show what the scene would look like if it were on Earth. 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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