Curiosity drilling mars surface

Curiosity Drilling Mars Surface

NASA’s Curiosity rover is preparing to use its drill to bore into a Martian rock in the coming
days. The rover carried out “pre-load” testing on January 27, placing the drill tip on a series of four locations on the rock and pressing down to test whether the amount of force applied to the hardware matches predictions formulated by NASA engineers. The team next planned to have Curiosity conduct an overnight pre-load test, into Monday morning January 28, to gain assurance that the large temperature change from day to night at the location doesn’t add excessive stress on the arm while pressing on the drill. The temperature is a real issue as daytime highs of 32 degrees F can plummet to -85F overnight. During this temperature shift, the rover’s arm, chassis and mobility system can grow and shrink by close to a tenth-of-an-inch.