NASA scientists hope to find out what ingredients make up the martian rock Souffle when they receive an analysis of the rock - the first that the Mars Pathfinder’s rover has found on its own.
On Saturday, the Sojourner rover sed its alpha proton X-ray spectrometer to study the chemical composition of the rock - named for a fluffy dessert - a day after guiding itself 10 feet to reach it.
The encounter marked the first time the rover had executed a “find rock” command, allowing it to navigate the planet’s surface independently and get close to its target, mission manager Richard Cook said. Scientists expected to receive test results Sunday.
On its way to the rock, the rover shot a few pictures of Souffle, which scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena received on Friday. NASA workers normally capture images with the lander camera that operates about 5-1/2 feet above the martian surface.
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