What lies beneath: Nasa to study Mars soil

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iol scitech feb 26 mars soil AP This undated image provided by Nasa shows powdered rock in the scoop of the Mars rover Curiosity.

Pasedena - The Mars rover Curiosity has successfully transferred a pinch of rock dust to its onboard laboratories for inspection, two weeks after drilling into its first rock.

Nasa said on Monday it received confirmation of the deliveries over the weekend. Scientists will spend the next several weeks studying the rock's chemical and mineral makeup.

Curiosity landed in Gale Crater near the equator last summer on a mission to determine whether the environment was favourable for microbes. It drilled into a flat rock earlier this month and collected a tablespoon-size sample from the interior - the first time this was achieved on Mars.

The car-size rover still has to drive to Mount Sharp rising from the centre of the crater floor. The trip is expected to take at least nine months with stops. - Sapa-AP

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