Ground too hard for Curiosity’s drill


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A second drill attempt by Curiosity, using an improvised drilling technique designed to bypass the failure of the drill’s feed mechanism, once again failed to drill deep enough to obtain a sample.

After two drilling attempts, Curiosity’s drill was not able to dig into the bedrock sufficiently to collect a sample of rock at this location. Curiosity’s engineers are continuing to refine the new drilling method. In the future, this might include adding percussion, which could enable drilling into harder rock.

Either the ground on Vera Rubin Ridge is too hard for Curiosity’s drill, or the new drilling technique does not allow the drill to push with the same force as previously. The update at the link implies the former, but I suspect the latter is a factor as well.

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