Rover Set To Scoop Up First Martian Soil

Videos Highlighting The Latest Search Trends.
Oct. 5 2012 4:00 PM

Rover Set To Scoop Up First Martian Soil


Photo by NASA via Getty Images

The Mars rover Curiosity is set to start scooping up the first samples of sand from the red planet.

The rover landed in Mars’ Gale Crater in August and has driven three-tenths of a mile since then. NASA now believes that Curiosity is sitting at the head of an ancient alluvial fan where water ran through the crater millions of years ago.

Extracting samples from the surface will be the first use of Curiosity's on board laboratory in experiments designed to determine if Mars ever had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

Before the analysis can begin, Curiosity must first rid itself of all Earthly residue, which would compromise its findings. To do that, it will rinse its robotic arm by shaking fine dust through its components.


Once the rinsing is complete, Curiosity will deliver a pill-sized amount of sand to its lab for analysis. And the rover will remain parked in its location for a few weeks while the experiments are carried out.

Andrew Bouvé is the co-executive producer for Slate video.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.