Curiosity Rover begins drilling Martian surface after two years
Back in December 2016, NASA's Curiosity Rover had to take its drilling arm offline because of a mechanical issue. The engineering team behind Curiosity had to come up with a new drilling technique to overcome the problem. The latest update from NASA confirms that the team has succeeded in 'percussive drilling' by creating a hole about 2" deep at a site called "Duluth".
Drilling holes at target sights on Martian surface is one of the important tasks Curiosity has to execute. Curiosity hosts two laboratories on-board used for chemical and mineralogical analysis of the rock-powder the drill provides.
The Curiosity engineering team has been working on creating this new drilling technique for over a year, but the job isn't over for them yet. The next challenge is to transfer the collected rock powder to the two laboratories inside the rover.
The team will make use of the on-board cameras to find out how much of the collected powder trickles out when the drilling arm moves back. It's quite a bit of a challenge to precisely control a robot that's several million miles away.