Curiosity Does Some Practice Drilling

PASADENA, Calif. (February 7, 2013)--The Curiosity rover has drilled a test hole in a Martian rock as a run up to a major task.

Images released Thursday by NASA showed a ring of powder generated by the drill at the end of the rover's robotic arm as Curiosity drilled a hole that measured less than an inch deep.

Scientists planned to analyze the "mini drill test" before commanding Curiosity to drill deeper.

One of the rover’s major tasks is to drill into a rock and transfer the ground-up powder to its onboard laboratories for analysis, a first on Mars.

Curiosity landed last year in an ancient crater near the Martian equator on a mission to gauge whether environmental conditions were favorable for microbes.

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