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Mars Science

Curiosity Scrubs a Mars Rock Clean 60

astroengine writes "NASA's newest rover on Mars has recently used its Dust Removal Tool for the first time, clearing away a patch of rust-colored dust coating its latest target: a slab of rock called "Ekwir_1." The Dust Removal Tool, or DRT (yes, the rover's cleaning instrument is called "dirt") is a motorized brush with stainless steel wire bristles located on Curiosity's multipurpose Robotic Arm turret — a veritable Swiss Army knife of planetary exploration tools." Reader Sez Zero links to a story on the brushing action at the BBC, which adds that "Curiosity is building towards using its hammer-drill, the last major tool yet to be deployed on the mission." So at least we know there's dirt on Mars, even if they chose not to send a dedicated life sensor, too. The Aeon piece is well worth reading, if that decision sounds perverse.
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Curiosity Scrubs a Mars Rock Clean

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  • Names (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:59AM (#42518405)

    The Dust Removal Tool, or DRT (yes, the rover's cleaning instrument is called "dirt")

    So what would you rather it be called, smartarse?

    "This is my new unlimited power source that actually works. It will cure world hunger, promote world peace, we can use it to fold spacetime so travel anywhere in the Universe can be done safely and it looks like a kitten. I call it Fred."


  • Stuff that matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jetra ( 2622687 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:04AM (#42518475)
    Why do the articles about "Stuff that Matters" get less comments than pointless crap like the article about a Trillion Dollar coin being banned? I can't wait for more results from Curiosity's progress. It's a shame that people only care about fails these days than successes.
  • Re:Names (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:05AM (#42518487)

    I have one too. It appears to work better when powered by beer.


  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:16AM (#42518665)

    get less comments

    I'd like to read the paper when it hits arxiv. Assuming it does. For one thing the fixation is on "dust" but it looks in the closeup that the brush scraped away rock and little nuggets remain... of what? Sedimentary rock with small chunks of something harder embedded in them? Or is there an alternative photointerpretation? If sedimentary, why so similar in size of its embedded "stuff", so maybe not? Or are those just boring brush marks from the sweeper itself that mean nothing? Anyway you're not going to see analysis beyond "oh shiny" in the mainstream media, so until some detailed papers are released there's not much to talk about, with the exception of the 0.001% of the /.ers who are real geologists.

    I do dream of a /. that has more links to arxiv and professors blogs than to discover and gawker. Probably get a lot more discussion then.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn@ g m a i l .com> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:26AM (#42518769) Journal

    Why do the articles about "Stuff that Matters" get less comments than pointless crap like the article about a Trillion Dollar coin being banned?

    Well, I'm not trying to give Slashdot a free pass nor do I think the commentators are the best but to put this into perspective, you should consider these stories. You can have an opinion about the Trillion Dollar coin and you can speak about how you like or don't like and why that is. And it's quite polarizing so it's going to generate a lot of garbage. I think everyone is on board with Curiosity though. It's not polarizing. It's doing things that are far and above what I do in my day to day life so it's really hard for me to make a super intelligent comment about it. Saying how much I love Curiosity just turns into a circle jerk with people one-upping each other about how large their Curiosity tramp stamps are so I remain tacit unless I have something meaningful to add. The Trillion Dollar coin, on the other hand, I was all too eager to call names and engage in ad hominem attacks.

    Also, there have been countless Curiosity stories and about two Trillion Dollar coin stories. So even if you assume that the population of readers has equal comments about both stories you're going to exhaust the Curiosity comments quickly. I'm not here to say the same thing over and over on multiple stories -- especially when all I can do is sit here with my jaw agape at how awesome this is.

    So what exactly did you have in mind? My armchair NASA administrator posts aren't very productive so I read the story and scan the comments for something good. Nobody can chime in with "Well, when I polished rocks on Mars I used an anodized aluminum brush that got better ... blah blah blah." So it's hard to generate worthwhile comments here.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming