Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 27, 2014

Attempted (and Failed) Drilling - Sol 724
Attempted (and Failed) Drilling - Sol 724

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech - MER and Lab. Curiosity - Credits for the additional process.: Dr Paolo C, Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

This image, which came from the Front Hazard Avoidance Camera (or "HazCam", for short), located onboard the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity", shows us the Rover's drill in place during a test of whether the Rock beneath it, nicknamed "Bonanza King", would be an acceptable target for drilling to collect a sample. Subsequent analysis showed that the Rock budged during the procedure and did not pass the test.

This frame was taken during the 724th Martian Day, or Sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (such as August, 19, 2014, on Earth). The Rover was carrying out a mini-drill procedure, which is part of evaluating the Target in advance of full-depth, sample-collection drilling. One step in the procedure, called "Start Hole", uses the hammering action of the percussive drill to create a small indentation in the Candidate Rock. During this part of the test, the Rock moved slightly, the Rover sensed that instability in the Target, and the protective software properly halted the Whole procedure. After analysis of the Target's instability, the Rover Team decided, on August 21, 2014, to drive Curiosity away from this Bonanza King Site and resume the trek toward its long-term destinations, on the Slopes of Mount Sharp - and perhaps a shorter-term science destination at a Rocky Outcrop nicknamed "Pahrump Hills".

The Site caught in this Southward-looking image is located at the North/Eastern end of the Sandy-floored "Hidden Valley". The largest of the individual Flat Rocks visible in the foreground are just a few inches ("), such as several centimeters across. For scale, the Rover's Left (Sx) Front Wheel, is 20" (such as about 0,508 meter) in diameter.

This picture (which is an Original b/w Image taken by the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity" Front Hazard Avoidance Camera on August, 19, 2014, published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal and identified by the ID n. PIA 18603) has been additionally processed, magnified in order to help the visibility of the Landscape's details, Gamma corrected and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal - meaning "in the average" - human eye would actually perceive if someone were on the Surface of Mars, near the NASA - Mars Exploration Rover (MER) - Mars Laboratory "Curiosity", and then looked ahead, towards the Horizon and the Sky over Gale Crater), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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