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Mars Rover Getting Set to Scoop at Rocknest
NASA's Curiosity rover is in a position on Mars where scientists and engineers can begin preparing the rover to take its first scoop of soil for analysis. "We now have reached an important phase that will get the first solid samples into the analytical instruments in about two weeks," said Mission Manager Michael Watkins of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Rocknest is the name of the area of soil Curiosity will test and analyze. The rover pulled up to the sandy and dusty location on October 2nd. The Rocknest patch is about 8 feet by 16 feet and provides plenty of area for scooping several times. Diverse rocks nearby provide targets for investigation with the instruments on Curiosity's mast during the weeks the rover is stationed at Rocknest for this first scooping campaign.
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