The Curiosity rover that belongs to NASA looks prepared to check out a slab of sandstone that might eventually end up as a potential drilling target. This particular piece of rock, if chosen, would be the first drilling target which will not be a mudstone, according to a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory report. This particular stone has been given the nickname “Windjana,” which is called after a gorge that can be found in Western Australia.
The Curiosity rover will perform an inspection on the rock through the utilization of its camera and X-ray spectrometer, at the same time being able to brush dust away from a segment. Should Windjana be picked as a drilling site, the Curiosity rover will then collect dust samples from deep within the rock before making its way back to the onboard laboratory for the instruments there to take a closer look.
Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena shared, “We want to learn more about the wet process that turned sand deposits into sandstone here. What was the composition of the fluids that bound the grains together? That aqueous chemistry is part of the habitability story we’re investigating.”
The scientific team also hoped to figure out as to why some sandstone in Windjana’s region happens to be a whole lot harder compared to the rest.