After overcoming some technical woes caused by its motor, Curiosity had once again started to drill into a rock on Mars again, earlier this year. But the ambitious rover hit rock bottom this year when it tried to drill into a particularly hard rock. The rock in question, named ‘’Voyageurs’’ is placed in the Gale Crater. While the rover tried to drill just deep enough to get a sample for analysis, the drill was stopped short of success.
According to Curiosity tea member Mark Salvatore, the rock is one of the strongest that have been encountered since the rover reached the Gale crater. The striking part about the event is the unusual geology of the rock, which remains unknown for now. Curiosity will continue to move down the Vera Rubin Ridge as the team hopes to find a similar but less resistant rock. It is theorized that the particular way in which sediments collected may hold an answer about makes it so tough.
In May, a rock named ‘’Duluth’’ was successfully drilled into, yielding more important information about the Red Planet’s particular geology. While the area currently explored by the team may have even harder rocks present, the team is optimistic that a suitable specimen will soon be found.
Curiosity was launched in 2011 as a part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission. After traveling 560 million km, it reached Mars in August 2012. The Rovers is equipped with a variety of sensors as it aims to explore both the climate and geology of Mars. An important objective is to find out if Mars had to proper conditions to sustain life at one point in its existence and to chart a map for future human explorers. While it was planned to last for two years, it still works and it will be exploited for as long as possible.