The Long Arm of Science: Curiosity Rover Studies Mars Rock

September 22nd, 2012

Credit: NASA/JPL

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has begun up-close work on “Jake Matijevic.”

The rover is touching the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

The football-size rock is the first for the rover’s equipment-carrying arm to examine.

Both the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument will be used for identifying elements in the rock. This will allow cross-checking of the two instruments.

The rock was named after Jacob Matijevic who was the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory and the project’s Curiosity rover.

Matijevic passed away Aug. 20, at age 64.

Matijevic also was a leading engineer for all of the previous NASA Mars rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity.

By Leonard David

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