NASA has announced that the Curiosity rover’s robotic arm is once again operational, after its movement was temporarily halted due to a short circuit. According to the space agency, on Wednesday it transferred a powder sample from a recent rock drilling to an onboard laboratory for further processing. Since late last month, the activity was on hold as the rover had experienced an electrical short. Engineers opine that the probable cause was an intermittent short in the motor of the drill. However, they are still continuing to investigate the issue for the efficient working of the drill.
The powder sample was collected by the Curiosity after drilling a rock called Telegraph Peak. It was the third target of the rover which has been drilled during six months of its investigation on Pahrump Hills outcrop on Mount Sharp. Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California mentioned “That precious Telegraph Peak sample had been sitting in the arm, so tantalizingly close, for two weeks. We are really excited to get it delivered for analysis.”
In the coming days, Curiosity will move away from Pahrump Hills to higher ground for exploring more rocks. It was 2012 when the rover landed on Mars and began exploring the Red Planet. The sophisticated rover has, since then, provided a fair idea about the chemistry and geology of Mars and has revealed that ancient Mars had appropriate conditions for supporting microbial life. However, the Curiosity has not been designed to directly look for life on the planet.