Watch: Curiosity rover gets the "scoop" on Mars
After nearly two months on the surface of the Red Planet, Mars rover Curiosity finally got its hands dirty. The 1-ton science lab utilized a scoop on the end of its robotic arm to take samples of the Martian surface for analysis in its sophisticated laboratory instruments. These scoopfuls of Martian dirt will be run through a battery of chemical and X-ray tests to identify minerals, giving scientists a better understanding of the composition of Mars.
And as with everything in this impeccably documented mission to Mars, NASA took pictures of the inaugural scoop and combined the images into a video.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory released the video - titled "Curiosity's First Scoopful of Mars" - as well as this description:
The video clip shows the first Martian material collected by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA's Mars Curiosity rover, being vibrated inside the scoop after it was lifted from the ground on Oct. 7, 2012 The clip includes 256 frames from Curiosity's Mast Camera, taken at about eight frames per second, plus interpolated frames to fun at actual speed in this 32-frames-per-second version. The scoop was vibrated to discard any overfill. Churning due to vibration also serves to show physical characteristics of the collected material, such as an absence of pebbles. The scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long.
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