Curiosity has managed to reach a new landmark. The rover is currently exploring the Gale Crater as the land found in the area is favorable for drilling. After seven years spent on the planet, it managed to drill into the surface of Mars. The rover’s official Twitter account shared the good news.
The team of the researchers has been looking forward towards this goal since the Gale Crater was selected as a suitable landing site. The target bedrock is known as Aberlady. Curiosity will use a variety of sensors to explore the drill hole and analyze the composition of dust as researchers aim to learn more about the region.
The Gale Crater has been selected as a favorite area due to the possible traces of water in the region and the increased chance to discover organic compounds. Several minerals can be found in samples of clay and sulfate-rich rocks recovered from the bottom of Gale’s mountain. These minerals are excellent when it comes to organic compounds since they can protect them from oxidation.
NASA’s Curiosity rover drills into the surface of Mars
The feat is quite impressive since Curiosity faced a few issues in recent months. A series of glitches affected the rover at the start of March. The Side-A computer underwent a reset on March 6, which led to the automatic activation of the safe mode.
A similar event occurred in February when the computer remained stuck during a boot-up sequence.
The Side-A computer was activated in 2018 when NASA decided to make the switch from the Side-B computer which was used predominantly during the mission. A glitch encountered back then was the reason for the change, but NASA decided to return to Side-A.
Side-B has been formatted, and it is likely that the issues will disappear. Curiosity is the only functioning rover on Mars after the agency decided that Opportunity is no longer operational. A new rover will be sent to Mars in 2020.