NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, which is on a mission of searching life on the Red Planet, will not carry out a drill operation on the planned Mars rock and will instead resume the long trek to a huge Red Planet mountain.
“The project team members had been considering drilling the martian rock “Bonanza King” but have to reconsider the decision after pre-drilling activities found the rock unfit for the operations,” NASA officials said.
“We have decided that the rocks under consideration for drilling, based on the tests we did, are not good candidates for drilling. Instead of drilling here, we will resume driving toward Mount Sharp,” Jim Erickson, Curiosity project manager of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
The statement further said that the ground controllers working on the project chose to send the Curiosity back on its way rather than going ahead with the drilling into a potential target rock.
According to the statement, the ground controllers on the Earth had selected various targets for drilling and then analysed whether their drilling is safe for the rover. The Curiosity has so far successfully carried out the drilling operations on three targets.
But this particular variety of rock dubbed ‘Bonanza King’ has come as the stumbling block for the rover. According to the researchers, the rock can be hazardous for the Curiosity if any further attempts of drilling are taken.
During a test on August 20 of the percussion drill, the flat ‘Bonanza King’ rock shifted under the impact of the operation.
Bonanza King is located at the northeastern end of the sandy “Hidden Valley,” which was proved to be more complex to navigate than originally expected.
Curiosity rover has slipped in the sand on numerous occasions since it first began entering the valley in early August.