In the previous diary of this series, we talked about NASA's plans to use sand to scour the "oily film" of life on Earth from the surfaces of the material handling tools and the analytical instruments that will soon tell us more than we have ever known about the composition of Mars. I thought folks might enjoy this video from NASA that shows us how the scoop works.
I put a transcript of the video out in the tall grass for those with bandwidth, etc. problems.
My name is Daniel Limonadi, I'm the surface sampling and science phase lead and this is your Mars Curiosity Rover update.
Curiosity still having (garble) right now. We just stopped at the Bathurst Rock formation, to check it out with the robotic arm mounted instruments, the hand lens imager and the spectrometer. We got some great science data there for the science team.
And now we're moving to a new location called Rocknest, And we've come to Rocknest because it has nice, wind blown sand drifts. At the Rocknest formation, we really are entering a new phase in Mars exploration with Curiosity. We're starting the surface sampling part of the mission.
The reason this is a one ton rover with two hundred pound robotic arm is because we have these tools to acquire bits of Mars, either with a scoop or with a drill, process those samples for our very sensitive analytical lab instruments.
Our scoop is not a giant backhoe on Mars. we basically have more like an over-sized tablespoon attached to the end of the arm. And we grab on the order of twenty grams of material and we position the arm over the soil target, and then we just actuate the scoop, do a little bit of vibration to kind of level out the sample and then raise the arm up, close the scoop and carry on with our sampling activity.
Over the next two or three weeks we will be doing the scooping and sample analysis activities. And then from there we expect to spend a few more weeks driving over to the Glenelg area proper doing scratch and sniff science along the way with the robotic arm and once we get to Glenelg we will look forward to some exciting first time drilling activities.
This has been your Mars Curiosity Rover update. Check back soon for more reports.
Here are my previous diaries in this series inspired by NASA's new roving science lab on Mars, listed in the order I have posted them.
Mars Curiosity Rover -- Meet the ChemCam
Ray Bradbury is Honored Today on Mars
What Curiosity Can Do, Part 2.
What Curiosity Can Do on Mars and in this Election
Will Curiosity Mission Finally Vindicate the Life Science Results from the 1976 Viking Lander?
From Mars: SAM Takes a Deep Breath and Flexes his Arm
From Mars: Here's Looking At You, Kid.
On Mars: Super Rover has X-ray Vision
On Mars: Let the Science Begin
On Mars: We have found an Interesting Rock
On Mars: Obama and Biden Campaign This Week
On Mars: Curiosity Does Contact Science
On Mars: A River Ran Through It
On Mars: Sol 52 Update
On Mars: 2000 AD Space Robot Held Together with 2000 BC Technology
On Mars: Curiosity Stops to Do the Dishes