Curiosity rover to check out Martian rock

Sept. 20, 2012 at 5:31 PM

PASADENA, Calif., Sept. 20 (UPI) -- NASA says its Mars rover Curiosity has arrived at a football-size rock that will be the first target for examination by the rover's arm-mounted instruments.

Curiosity has stopped about 8 feet from the rock, which in coming days will be examined with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and photographed close up by an arm-mounted camera, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Thursday.

The rock has been named "Jake Matijevic" for the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory and the project's Curiosity rover who died Aug. 20 at age 64, JPL said.

Curiosity has driven six days in a row on trips ranging from 72 feet to 121 feet.

"This robot was built to rove, and the team is really getting a good rhythm of driving day after day when that's the priority," said JPL Mars Science Laboratory Project Manager Richard Cook.

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