NASA To Reveal Contents Of Drilled Martian Rock - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

NASA To Reveal Contents Of Drilled Martian Rock

Posted: Updated:

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Mars rover Curiosity drilled into its first rock a month ago. Now scientists will reveal what's inside.

Gathering at NASA headquarters Tuesday, the rover team will detail the minerals and chemicals found in a pinch of ground-up rock.

The results come seven months after Curiosity made a dramatic landing in an ancient crater near the equator. It has been slow going since then as engineers learn to handle the car-size rover, which is far more tech-savvy than anything that has landed before on the red planet

While previous Mars spacecraft carried tools to grind into rocks, Curiosity was the first to collect a pulverized sample from deep inside. The complex exercise — played out over several weeks — involved boring a hole 2 ½ inches deep, sifting the powder and running it through its onboard laboratories.

By analyzing the crushed rock, researchers hope to determine whether the landing spot ever had the right conditions to support primitive life in the form of microscopic organisms. They already have one hint of a watery past — an ancient streambed that Curiosity crossed to get to the flat bedrock, a pit stop to its ultimate destination.

Over the years, Mars spacecraft in orbit and on the surface have beamed back a wealth of information about the planet's geology. Scientists have also been able to examine pieces of rocks from Mars that have occasionally landed on Earth. Several places on Mars — now a frigid desert — show evidence of a warmer and wetter environment early in the planet's history.

One of the main reasons Curiosity was sent to Gale Crater was because images from space spied signs of clay layers at the base of a mountain. The rover was supposed to start the trek there before the new year, but instrument checks took longer than expected.

Despite a pokey start, scientists have been pleased with the mission. The biggest problem to plague Curiosity so far is computer-related, preventing it from doing science experiments for several days.

  • National NewsMore>>

  • Battle rages in Gaza City

    Battle rages in Gaza City

    Sunday, July 20 2014 2:12 PM EDT2014-07-20 18:12:41 GMT
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - It's the deadliest day yet of Israel's 3-day-old ground offensive in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say at least 65 people were killed as Israeli troops backed by tanks and warplanes battled Hamas militants in a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City.Thousands have fled the city and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Palestinian health officials put the number of displaced at 35,000.More >>
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - It's the deadliest day yet of Israel's 3-day-old ground offensive in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say at least 65 people were killed as Israeli troops backed by tanks and warplanes battled Hamas militants in a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City.Thousands have fled the city and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed. Palestinian health officials put the number of displaced at 35,000.More >>
  • Feds: Man said he'd blow up London-to-LA plane

    Feds: Man said he'd blow up London-to-LA plane

    Thursday, July 17 2014 12:52 AM EDT2014-07-17 04:52:07 GMT
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal criminal complaint says a passenger on a flight this week from London to Los Angeles threatened to kill flight attendants and blow up the plane.The FBI says 20-year-old Kevin Lee Mosele of Kihei, Hawaii, was charged Tuesday with interfering with a flight crew. He could get 20 years in federal prison if convicted.More >>
    LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal criminal complaint says a passenger on a flight this week from London to Los Angeles threatened to kill flight attendants and blow up the plane.The FBI says 20-year-old Kevin Lee Mosele of Kihei, Hawaii, was charged Tuesday with interfering with a flight crew. He could get 20 years in federal prison if convicted.More >>
  • Las Vegas doctor will help girl attacked by pit bull

    Las Vegas doctor will help girl attacked by pit bull

    Monday, June 23 2014 8:58 PM EDT2014-06-24 00:58:54 GMT
    JACKSON, Miss. - A Las Vegas doctor deeply touched by the story of the little girl who was asked to leave KFC because of the scars on her face, has decided to pay it forward. Victoria Wilcher was the victim of a pit bull attack that left her with multiple scars all over her face and only one eye.More >>
    JACKSON, Miss. - A Las Vegas doctor deeply touched by the story of the little girl who was asked to leave KFC because of the scars on her face, has decided to pay it forward. Victoria Wilcher was the victim of a pit bull attack that left her with multiple scars all over her face and only one eye.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.