NASA Mars Rover has taken its first samples of Martian dirt, an action that required it to eat some dirt, as NASA’s chief scientist John Grotzinger playfully described it. Rover then placed the samples in CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument), and delivered them to a laboratory inside of Curiosity named Sam. Detailed analysis of the Martian soil should be available next week.
“These are particles that travel regionally, if not globally,” Grotzinger told the BBC. “[We're] going to be able to analyse finally, once and for all, the mineral composition of this global component – not of the local component; not of the bits and pieces of the rocks that are around [our landing site], but the stuff that swirls around the planet; and that’s why this is going to be such a cool measurement.”
If this can be done, even if it takes decades, perhaps it will humble the religious, who believe we are god’s gift to the universe. Perhaps it will make us all realize how we are simultaneously insignificant in the immensity of the cosmos and incredibly fortunate to have the consciousness to perceive the universe around us.
That Mars Rover has taken soil samples should be seen for what it is: a wondrous achievement for mankind.
Check out some more images over at the Mars Rover website.