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  • Rajnath approves reform of Indian Army headquarters:-Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the first batch of reforms in the Army including relocation of 206 officers from the Army headquarters, setting up of a separate vigilance cell and forming an umbrella organisation to focus on human rights issues....
  • IAF always cautious and alert says Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa:-As tensions continue between India and Pakistan over the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa has said the Indian Air Force (IAF) is "always cautious and alert" to check any untoward aerial movement on the border....
  • Chandrayaan-2 placed in Lunar orbit, focus now on soft-landing:- India's Chandrayaan-2 mission, aimed at soft landing a rover in the unexplored south pole of the Moon, achieved a major milestone as the ISRO successfully injected the spacecraft into the lunar orbit on Tuesday. ...
  • Chandrayaan 2 successfully enters orbit around Moon:-In a major milestone for India's Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit on Tuesday. Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver was completed successfully at 0902 hours as planned, using the onboard propulsion system, the Bengaluru headquartered space agency said in a statement....

NASA rover set for third drill on Mars

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An artistic image of NASA's Curiosity rover. Photo: NASA.

WASHINGTON (PTI): NASA's Curiosity rover is set to carry out its third-ever drilling into a rock on Mars to collect samples for analysis that may provide clues about life on the red planet.

The rover used several tools to examine the candidate site over the weekend, including a wire-bristle brush - the Dust Removal Tool - to clear away dust from a patch on the rock, NASA said.

The target slab of sandstone has been given the informal name "Windjana," after a gorge in Western Australia.

"In the brushed spot, we can see that the rock is fine-grained, its true colour is much greyer than the surface dust, and some portions of the rock are harder than others, creating the interesting bumpy textures," said Curiosity science team member Melissa Rice of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

"All of these traits reinforce our interest in drilling here in order understand the chemistry of the fluids that bound these grains together to form the rock," said Rice.

Before Curiosity drills deeply enough for collection of rock-powder sample, plans call for a preparatory "mini-drill" operation on the target, as a further check for readiness, said NASA.

Curiosity's hammering drill collects powdered sample material from the interior of a rock, and then the rover prepares and delivers portions of the sample to laboratory instruments on-board.

The first two Martian rocks drilled and analysed this way were mud-stone slabs neighbouring each other in Yellowknife Bay, about 4 kilometres northeast of the rover's current location at a way-point called "The Kimberley."

Those two rocks yielded evidence last year of an ancient lake-bed environment with key chemical elements and a chemical energy source that provided conditions billions of years ago favourable for microbial life.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project is using Curiosity to assess ancient habitable environments and major changes in Martian environmental conditions.

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NASA  Curiosity  Mars  
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