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Mars rover’s drill out of action

18 December 2016 Stephen Clark

The rock-coring drill fixed to the end of the Curiosity rover’s robot arm has suspended operations to allow engineers on the ground to diagnose, and officials hope correct, a problem traced to the mechanism that pushes the drill bit onto rocks to collect powder samples.

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Martian valleys could have been carved by surprisingly little water

5 November 2015 Astronomy Now

Vast valley networks on Mars have suggested that water may have flowed there for millions of years. Now a study at Brown University suggests the valleys could have been carved by much less water in as little as a few hundred to 10,000 years. The findings are consistent with the idea that early Mars may have been cold and icy, with surface water flowing sporadically in response to short-term climate changes.

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NASA’s Curiosity rover team confirms ancient lakes on Mars

8 October 2015 Astronomy Now

A new study has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time. Using data from NASA’s Curiosity rover, the team behind Mars Science Laboratory has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed on 6 August 2012.