Image of a Curiosity rover near the 18th hole drilled on Mars
After several technical failures, which this year experienced NASA's Martian rover Curiosity rover, the device returned to its usual activities. He recently entered a new location and drilled a hole.
NASA reports that this is the 18th successful hole in terms of rover drilling. Geologists for a long time considered this territory, but could not carry out a mission. From the end of 2016 to May 2018, the experiments had to be stopped due to problems with the drilling tool.
However, the rover was lucky at the Highfield location. Now Curiosity is analyzing the mined powder, which should tell scientists more information about this area. NASA says the rover will also monitor the movement of this rock on the surface, performing meteorological observations and tracking wind movement. This is a particularly interesting period for meteorological research on Mars, because the second Opportunity rover is still silent on the opposite side of the planet after a global dust storm that swept Mars in early 2018. Scientists hope that dusty devils (a seasonal Martian phenomenon) will help clean the Opportunity solar panels from possibly accumulated dust.
To reach the new location, the Curiosity rover had to overcome 60 m. The journey was completed a month after the engineers had to switch to the backup brain (computer) of the device due to a computer failure. Engineers are still trying to figure out the cause of the error. The rover does not need the simultaneous operation of two computers, but the team plans to switch back because the stand-alone computer has a large amount of memory.