Mars Rover Curiosity Dusts Rock Exposing Martian Surface


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NASA’s Rover Curiosity has, for the first time, used a brush at the end of its robotic arm to expose the Martian rock underneath the red dust which covers most of the surface of the planet.  New York City based Honeybee Robotics  built the wire brush on Curiosity.  Spokesman for the company, John Abrashkin told Space.com, “This is similar to the brush on board the Rock Abrasion Tools on Spirit and Opportunity, and will let researchers get a look at the rock (rather than the pervasive dust) before deciding whether to drill for a sample.  Diana Trujillo, the mission’s activity lead for the Dust Removal Tool at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement, “We wanted to make sure we had an optimal target for the first use.”  She continued, “We need to place the instrument within less than half an inch of the target without putting the hardware at risk. We needed a flat target, one that wasn’t rough, one that was covered with dust. The results certainly look good.”  Cleaning the surface of the rocks will ensure that samples taken from deeper in the rock are not contaminated by the surface dust.  Since its landing on the surface of Mars five months ago, Curiosity has performed flawlessly.  According to Space.com, “Curiosity is working its way towards Glenelg at the base of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-high (5 kilometers) mountain that rises up from the center of Gale Crater.”

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