This picture shows where the Curiosity rover scooped up some Martian soil. The first scoop sample was taken from a patch of dust and sand called “Rockrest” on 7 October, 2012, which was the 61st sol (Martian day) of operations. This picture was taken by Curiosity‘s Mast Camera. The color has been enhanced to show the Martian soil as it would appear under lighting conditions on Earth. That allows the Science Team for the mission to more easily analyze the terrain.
During the two-year prime mission of the Mars Science Laboratory Project, researchers are using Curiosity‘s 10 instruments to investigate whether areas in Gale Crater ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. If the rover survives as well as its two predecessors, there will be plenty more work left. A whole planet full.
Image Credit: NASA