By Kalwinder Kaur
Following a long drive after landing, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been making efforts to utilize the tools on its arm to the fullest.
The robotic arm of Curiosity was extended on Wednesday during the first 6-10 successive days of planned activities for testing the 7-foot arm and the tools developed.
The Curiosity rover spanned up to 358 ft after it safely landed within Mars' Gale Crater on August 5 (August 6 EDT), supported by Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft. Spanning one-fourth of the path from ‘Bradbury Landing’- the landing site, Curiosity moved to Glenelg - the mission's first major science destination.
Curiosity and the team will be trained to deploy the arm for placing two of the science instruments onto rock and soil targets, through operation at the current location. These initiatives will mark the first steps to collect soil, drill into rocks, process collected samples and send the samples within the analytical instruments.
During the consecutive days, tests will be carried out to assess various potentials such as turret's Mars Hand Lens Imager-based initiative to observe its calibration target and the capability of Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer developed in Canada to read the type of chemical elements existing within the instrument's calibration target.
Following arm characterization initiatives at the current site, Curiosity will be heading east toward Glenelg. The selected area has been expected to serve as a good target for Curiosity's first analysis of powder resulting from drilling into a rock.
Since a month, Curiosity has been involved in two-year prime mission on Mars. Ten science instruments will be deployed to evaluate the selected study area and check whether it is favorable or unfavorable for microbial life. The mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington is being directed by JPL.