Curious but complex – an update

Curiosity has been sitting a series of exams ahead of its long journey to Mt. Sharp. Initial testing of the MAHLI and APXS instruments has been successfully completed, whilst engineers have also continued to fine-tune the movement of the robotic arm.

Following this brief stop the rover is now trundling towards Glenelg, where it’s hoped the first rock samples will be analysed. Below are some of the best images from the past week.

This panorama of Curiosity’s under belly was snapped by MAHLI. The rover sits around 60cm above the Martian surface. The four round circles are the HazCam, whilst the base of Mt. Sharp can be seen in the distance on the right-hand side (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS).

Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) as seen from the MastCam. The APXS is in the centre of the image and will be used to measure the abundance of elements in rocks and soil (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS).

MAHLI (pink disk, centre) as seen by the MastCam (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS).

MAHLI was tested by imaging the protective cover on the sample inlet for the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. The cover prevents unwanted samples falling into the instrument (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS).

The protective cover was removed to reveal the mesh over the inlet to the CheMin (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS).

The road ahead. Having completed the first phase of instrument testing, Curiosity will spend the next month driving to the Glenelg outcrop (NASA/JPL-Caltech).

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