NASA’s amazing giant rover Curiosity has just performed another first in its quest to better understand the chemistry and physics of Mars: It’s drilled a hole into a rock. NASA has said this is the first time this has ever happened on Mars.
The 6.4 centimeter-deep hole was made into an outcropping of Mars’ sedimentary bedrock. Rock dust from inside this hole will get sifted and then sent on to the rover’s scientific analysis equipment in order to search for evidence that supports the hypothesis Mars had (and has) water flowing on its surface. This kind of advanced robot activity is exactly why Curiosity was constructed, and it’s enabling some of the most advanced science experiments ever conducted away from planet Earth.
Can Curiosity alone find signs that there was once life on Mars? Or do we need to send scientists there to find out for sure?