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Mars Curiosity Rover's Robotic Arm Back in Action After Electrical Short

NASA says the robotic arm on Curiosity is moving again after a short circuit temporarily halted its work on the Red Planet.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

NASA said Thursday the robotic arm on the Curiosity rover is moving again after a short circuit temporarily halted its work on Mars. The space agency said that Curiosity transferred a powder sample from a recent rock drilling to an onboard laboratory to process on Wednesday. The activity had been put on hold late last month after the rover experienced an electrical short. Engineers say the likely cause is an intermittent short in the motor of the drill. They'll continue to analyze the issue to decide how best to use the drill for future work.

The powder sample collected by Curiosity comes from a rock target called Telegraph Peak, the third target drilled during about six months of investigating the Pahrump Hills outcrop on Mount Sharp. "That precious Telegraph Peak sample had been sitting in the arm, so tantalizingly close, for two weeks. We are really excited to get it delivered for analysis," said Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Curiosity will drive away from Pahrump Hills to higher ground in the coming days to explore more rocks. The rover landed on Mars in 2012 and has made many discoveries.



— The Associated Press and NBC News staff