February 10th Sol 182
The latest drilling has gone to 6 cm depth and we will use this for CheMin and SAM analyses. This is a first for Mars exploration: starting to explore the subsurface may show us different mineral and chemical assemblages from those on the oxidised surface. The image shows a left MastCam image of the John Klein outcrop, with the new drilhole. You can also see the pale sulphate-rich veins which cut through this sedimentary rock.
MSL aims to determine if there were ever habitable environmenst on Mars. Was this area habitable? That question will take a lot of work and analyses to answer.
There was lots of excitement at the RAS meeting in London on Friday about the drilling and earlier MSL results. At the same meeting we also heard from the European Space Agency about their plans: the 2018 ExoMars rover has a dril which could reach down to 2 m depth.