NASA says its Curiosity Rover has just ended a relatively long journey on Mars, which has led to a 12 mile mark. The Rover is now at Red Orkad Lake, a place where NASA has previously tried to drill in gray rocks. The Spatial Agency anticipates successful results this time thanks to newly identified drilling sites and an improved drilling process.
The NASA team's Mars team previously attempted to take rock samples using Curiosity training in places called Orcadie Lake and Orcadie Lake 2. The rover instrument failed to get the appropriate samples twice due to an inability to penetrate enough in the rock the base. More than 240 soils (Mars days) have gone from these trials, however, and researchers have had time to improve the drilling process.
In addition, NASA says scientists have identified a trio of new drilling sites in which a sample can be harvested successfully. The rover dust removal tool was used to scratch the base layer in potential locations, allowing researchers to see where the surface is softer.
The space agency says Curiosity has made a 20-foot / 65-foot journey on the potential site today. Generally, NASA says the rover has traveled around 197 ft in the last weekend, this being the longest distance it has passed since the abnormal memory issue in September. NASA team changed the rover on a computer called "Side-A" on October 3 to solve the problem.
NASA says its Curiosity Rover is "back to business," and the next drilling event will take place later this week. That does not mean that Rover's team ignores the Side-B computer problem, though; the space agency says it will continue to work on diagnosing the problem.
The Curiosity team explained on NASA's Mars site that they spent today concentrating on getting the rover to the right place for the exercise. Scientists are asking for the images of Curiosity captured areas to ensure that past drilling remains have been removed. Experts need to complete a final confirmation analysis on the potential bottom site to determine if drilling will take place before the end of next week.
Although Curiosity returns to work on its own mission, NASA's older Opportunity Rover remains silent after the world's dust storm. Though the storm began to fall a few weeks ago, the space agency failed to get in touch with the second rover, who entered in a reduced way during the worst part of the storm.
Strong clouds of dust wiped the Sun, leaving Opportunity rover unable to recharge its batteries with solar energy. The Rover has been designed to cope with a situation like this, but NASA has previously warned that an unforeseen problem could have removed the rover forever.
However, NASA is not ready to give up Opportunity and says it will wait to see if Mars's windy season will throw dust off the rover's solar panels. Assuming dust prevents battery recharging, the wind season can be the key to restoring the rover to its full power state. If there is no contact in the coming months, NASA will re-evaluate the rover's situation in January 2019 and issue an update at that time.