NASA's Mars Rover makes first use of brush to sweep dust off rocks

Washington, Jan. 8 (ANI): NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first-time use of a brush, which it carries to sweep dust off rocks.

Nearing the end of a series of first-time uses of the rover's tools, the mission has cleared dust away from a targeted patch on a flat Martian rock using the Dust Removal Tool.

The tool is a motorized, wire-bristle brush, which is designed to prepare selected rock surfaces for enhanced examination by the rover's instruments.

The tool is built into the turret at the end of Curiosity's arm.

The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and the Mars Hand Lens Imager, which share the turret with the brush and the rover's hammering drill, can gain data after dust removal, which usually would not be accessible from a dust-blanketed rock.

Choosing an appropriate place for inspection was crucial for the first-time use of the Dust Removal Tool.

The chosen place, called "Ekwir_1," is on a rock in the "Yellowknife Bay" area of the Red Planet's Gale Crater.

The rover team is also evaluating rocks in that area, as potential targets for the first use of Curiosity's hammering drill. (ANI)


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