Mars Rover Curiosity collects historic drill sample: NASA

"Then we'll use the arm to transfer the powder out of the drill into the scoop, which will be our first chance to see the acquired sample," said McCloskey.

"Building a tool to interact forcefully with unpredictable rocks on Mars required an ambitious development and testing program," said JPL's Louise Jandura, chief engineer for Curiosity's sample system.

"To get to the point of making this hole in a rock on Mars, we made eight drills and bored more than 1,200 holes in 20 types of rock on Earth," Jandura said.

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