"Spirit" drills first hole in Mars

NASA: "We have made history"

Marsbrocken with freshly drilled hole NASA / JPL
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As soon as the American Mars rover "Spirit" is fit again, he has brought a memorable action behind him. "Spirit" drilled the first hole in a Mars chunks. The drilling action took three hours.

A diamond-tipped drill stabbed 2.7 millimeters into a basalt lump called "Adirondack, " NASA scientist Stephen Gorevan said. "We have made history. We made the first scheduled hole on Mars. "

From the analysis of the depression with a diameter of 45 millimeters, the space researchers expect new clues to the geological nature of the desert planet. "Adirondack was extremely unruly. We needed three hours for the tiny hole, "said Gorevan.

"Spirit" has been on Mars for more than a month. Only since Friday, after the reformatting of his memory, he is ready for action again. "Our patient is cured, " said project manager Jennifer Trosper in Pasadena. The data transmission of the probe to earth was disturbed since January 21st. After analyzing the basalt puddle, "Spirit" was scheduled to leave on Sunday for new rides across the Red Planet. The probe is to search in a crater for clues as to whether there was water on Mars. The journey to the crater 240 meters away could take up to a month.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the sister probe "Opportunity" is approaching a rock formation that is to be investigated in detail. The rock layers photographed by the probe attracted the attention of scientists, because such deposits on the earth are often washed up by water. Subsequently, "Opportunity" should turn to the rust-colored floor under its six wheels. The color indicates red ore (hematite), a mineral typically found in water. display

(NASA / RP Online, 09.02.2004 - NPO)