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.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th

    Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th

    Tuesday, February 20 2018 12:45 AM EST2018-02-20 05:45:17 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Monday, February 19th.

    More >>
  • 6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    Monday, February 19 2018 12:16 AM EST2018-02-19 05:16:00 GMT
    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    More >>

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    More >>
  • 14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:43 PM EST2018-02-19 04:43:04 GMT
    Courtesy CMPDCourtesy CMPD

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    More >>

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    More >>