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NASA's Mars Robot Set to Begin Drilling (Picture)

NASA's Mars Robot Set to Begin Drilling (Picture)

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First Posted: Jan 17, 2013 01:37 PM EST
Curiosity Tracks
This image shows the entire distance traveled from the landing site (dark smudge at left) to its location as of 2 January 2013 (the rover is bright feature at right).
(Photo : NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

The robot rover, Curiosity, is currently making its way across the Gale Crater on Mars. Images were recently released of the robot's tire tracks. They  were taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which has been orbiting the planet since 2006.

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The rover, which is the size of a small car, is currently travelling across the red planet toward Yellowknife Bay where it will begin drilling for samples. According to scientists, the location contains sedimentary rocks that could provide further evidence of a past abundance of water in the Gale Crater. Whether or not the rover will find evidence of life, though, is another question entirely. In addition to drilling, the rover is meant to give scientists a better picture of Mars and hopefully add to their understanding of the planet's geological history.

While Curiosity works on the ground, though, MRO works from space. The images captured by the orbiter have changed the way scientists view Mars. It has helped keep close tabs on the surface of the planet and the missions that NASA sends there.

To track Curiosity's missions and see more images, check out NASA's page.



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