The percussion drill in the turret of tools at the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been positioned in contact with the rock surface in this image from the rover's front Hazard-Avoidance Camera (Hazcam). The drill was positioned for pre-load testing, and the Hazcam recorded this image during the 170th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Jan. 27, 2013).
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is sizing up a target rock and flexing its robotic arm ahead of its first-ever drilling activity on the Red Planet, which should take place in the coming days.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover pressed down on the rock in four different places with its arm-mounted drill Monday (Jan. 27). These "pre-load" tests should allow mission engineers to see if the amount of force applied matches predictions, researchers said.
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