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Curiosity 'Eats' Mars Dust After Rover Drills Into Rock, NASA Says

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The left Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity took this image of Curiosity's sample-processing and delivery tool just after the tool delivered a portion of powdered rock into the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. | NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Mars rover Curiosity has successfully transferred a pinch of rock dust to its onboard laboratories for inspection, two weeks after drilling into its first rock.

NASA said Monday it received confirmation of the deliveries over the weekend. Scientists will spend the next several weeks studying the rock's chemical and mineral makeup.

Curiosity landed in Gale Crater near the equator last summer on a mission to determine whether the environment was favorable for microbes. It drilled into a flat rock earlier this month and collected a tablespoon-size sample from the interior – the first time this was achieved on Mars.

The car-size rover still has to drive to Mount Sharp rising from the center of the crater floor. The trip is expected to take at least nine months with stops.

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