Curiosity is back ! After a multi week hiatus forced by a computer memory glitch, NASA’s mega rover is back to full operation.
And the proof is crystal clear in the beautiful new panoramic view (above) snapped by Curiosity this weekend from Yellowknife Bay, showing the robot’s arm and drill elevated and aiming straight at you – raring to go and ready to feast on something deliciously Martian.
“That drill is hungry, looking for something tasty to eat, and ‘you’ (loaded with water and organics) are it,” I thought with a chuckle as Curiosity seeks additional habitats and ingredients friendly to life.
So my imaging partner Marco Di Lorenzo and me celebrated the great news by quickly creating the new panoramic mosaic assembled from images taken on Saturday, March 23, or Sol 223, by the robot’s navigation cameras. Our new Curiosity mosaic was first featured on Saturday at NBC News Cosmic Log by Alan Boyle – while I was hunting for Comet Pan-STARRS.
So the fact that Curiosity is again snapping images and transmitting fresh alien vistas and new science data is a relief to eagerly waiting scientists and engineers here on Earth.
Drilling goes to the heart of the mission. It was absolutely essential to the key finding of Curiosity’s Martian foray thus far – that Mars possesses an environment where alien microbes could once have thrived in the distant past when the Red Planet was warmer and wetter.