Updates Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity)

Linguofreak

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As it says in the end of the video, the colors were white-balanced to appear as if it was on Earth, to help geologists identify stuff.

So, nope. Not true color.

I can, however, make a prediction that this or similar image would end up on conspiracy theorists's sites with claims of coverup of... something... on Mars. :(
For reference, here's an earlier photo from Curiosity with the different color balances applied:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color...osityRover-MtSharp-ColorVersions-20120823.jpg

I believe all the color processing is done on Earth, so it should be possible to build a version of that panorama with "as seen by the human eye" white balance instead of "assume that the ambient light is white" white balance.
 

Nicholas Kang

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Drill again!

And after a year-long hiatus, the drilling has resumed!

Engineers working with NASA's Curiosity Mars rover have been hard at work testing a new way for the rover to drill rocks and extract powder from them. This past weekend, that effort produced the first drilled sample on Mars in more than a year.

Curiosity tested percussive drilling this past weekend, penetrating about 2 inches (50 millimeters) into a target called "Duluth."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been testing this drilling technique since a mechanical problem took Curiosity's drill offline in December of 2016. This technique, called Feed Extended Drilling, keeps the drill's bit extended out past two stabilizer posts that were originally used to steady the drill against Martian rocks. It lets Curiosity drill using the force of its robotic arm, a little more like the way a human would drill into a wall at home.

"The team used tremendous ingenuity to devise a new drilling technique and implement it on another planet," said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steve Lee of JPL. "Those are two vital inches of innovation from 60 million miles away. We’re thrilled that the result was so successful."

NASA's Curiosity rover successfully drilled a 2-inch-deep hole in a target called "Duluth" on May 20. It was the first rock sample captured by the drill since October 2016.
This image was taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Sol 2057. It has been white balanced and contrast-enhanced.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Drilling is a vitally important part of Curiosity's capabilities to study Mars. Inside the rover are two laboratories that are able to conduct chemical and mineralogical analyses of rock and soil samples. The samples are acquired from Gale Crater, which the rover has been exploring since 2012.

Curiosity's science team has been eager to get the drill working before the rover leaves its current location near Vera Rubin Ridge. Fortunately, it was near enough to drill targets like Duluth to drive back down the ridge. Sunday's drill sample represents a quick taste of the region before Curiosity moves on.

A close-up image of a 2-inch-deep hole produced using a new drilling technique for NASA's Curiosity rover. The hole is about 0.6 inches across (1.6 centimeters).
This image was taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Sol 2057. It has been white balanced and contrast-enhanced.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

There's also the next step to work on: delivering the rock sample from the drill bit to the two laboratories inside the rover. Having captured enough powder inside the drill, engineers will now use the rover's cameras to estimate how much trickles out while running the drill backwards. The drill’s percussion mechanism is also used to tap out powder.

As soon as this Friday, the Curiosity team will test a new process for delivering samples into the rover's laboratories.
Source: NASA
 

MaverickSawyer

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NASA Finds Ancient Organic Material, Mysterious Methane on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet’s surface and subsurface.

The new findings – “tough” organic molecules in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, as well as seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere – appear in the June 8 edition of the journal Science.
 
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