NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has become the first object in human history to collect a sample from the inside of a rock on another planet, the agency announced today. The Curiosity rover captured the sample on February 8th from a shallow area on the Red Planet that may have been submerged under water in ancient times. Check out the hours-long drilling process sped up in an image loop captured by the rover's onboard hazard cameras:
The rover used its percussive drill on the end of its 7-foot-long arm to bore a 2.5-inch hole in Martian bedrock, then extracted the pulverized rock powder and placed it into its scooping instrument, which in turn dumped part of the powder into the rover's collection instrument for further refinement. NASA said it would be analyzing the sample using other instruments in the coming days, hoping to understand how the rock formed and what the conditions on Mars were like during that time.