NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has broken out its trusty drill again, pulling samples from deep within a Red Planet rock for the second time ever.
The 1-ton Curiosity rover bored 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) into a rock dubbed “Cumberland” on Sunday (May 19), NASA officials said. The resulting powdered sample will be delivered to the robot’s onboard science instruments in the coming days.
Curiosity first used its drill to collect samples back in February, boring into a nearby rock called “John Klein.” That operation revealed that ancient Mars was likely capable of supporting microbial life — a groundbreaking discovery that the mission team wants to confirm.
"The science team expects to use analysis of material from Cumberland to check findings from John Klein," NASA officials wrote in a mission update Monday (May 20).