Curiosity attempts to drill with improvised technique

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The Curiosity engineering team has made the first attempt to drill in more than a year, using an improvised technique that has the rover arm push the bit into the ground rather than its presently non-function feed mechanism.

This early test produced a hole about a half-inch (1-centimeter) deep at a target called Lake Orcadie — not enough for a full scientific sample, but enough to validate that the new method works mechanically. This was just the first in what will be a series of tests to determine how well the new drill method can collect samples. If this drill had achieved sufficient depth to collect a sample, the team would have begun testing a new sample delivery process, ultimately delivering to instruments inside the rover.

According to the mission update page, for some reason the drill was unable to penetrate the ground very deeply.

They plan to do more tests, with the goal of eventually getting a hole deep enough to provide good samples.


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