Images sent back from NASA‘s Mars rover Curiosity on Wednesday confirmed that the precious sample is being held by the rover’s scoop, and will soon be delivered to two miniature chemical labs to undergo an unprecedented analysis. (Related:Â “Mars Rover Curiosity Completes First Full Drill.”)
To the delight of the scientists, the rock powder has come up gray and not the ubiquitous red of the dust that covers the planet. The gray rock, they believe, holds a lot of potential to glean information about conditions on an early Mars.
“We’re drilling into rock that’s a time capsule, rocks that are potentially ancient,” said sampling-system scientist Joel Hurowitz during a teleconference from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.