NASA to reveal contents of drilled Martian rock

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NASA Curiosity rover

Mars rover “Curiosity”, artist rendering provided by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Curiosity drilled into its first Martian 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 present in a gray pinch of ground-up rock.

The rock 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.

Scientists are thrilled with the latest achievement – a first on Mars. It involved boring a hole, scooping the powder and running it through Curiosity’s instruments.

By analyzing the rock’s interior, researchers hope to determine whether the landing spot was habitable. They already have one hint – an ancient streambed that Curiosity crossed to get to the rock.

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