NASA recently celebrated the first successful drilling of its Curiosity rover in the Martian region called Gale Crater.

The event, which was recently tweeted by NASA’s rover team, successfully completed another phase in NASA’s Red Planet exploration. According to the space agency’s website, the various scientists who are working with NASA's Curiosity Mars rover have always been excited to do further exploration in a region billed "the clay-bearing unit" even before the spacecraft was launched back in 2011.  

 

The region is the area where the Curiosity first landed and was chosen specifically so the rover can eventually conduct drilling.

The success of Curiosity’s first “hole” is a significant milestone not only for NASA but for other scientists hoping to find life on another planet. This is because the drilling might actually have indirectly proven that there’s water in Mars. The presence of water significantly increases the chance of finding or supporting life.

According to NASA, the rover was able to easily chew through the rock, unlike other regions of Mars such as the Vera Rubin Ridge. The surface was described as “so soft, in fact, that the drill didn't need to use its percussive technique, which is helpful for snagging samples from a harder rock.” Curiosity simply used the rotation of the drill bit to get samples and drill through the soil.

The soft surface could be explained by a number of factors but based on the NASA report, water could have also played a role in this. At any rate, scientists are quite excited to study surface samples which the Curiosity brought back to its internal mineralogy lab.

The scientists believe that they will find traces of clay minerals which often form when there’s water around. The drilling area, which was nicknamed “Aberlady” was specifically chosen for its strong clay “signal” as seen from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The Curiosity has played a major role in studying the surface of Mars, helping scientists unearth various stories that the planet could tell. Since it landed, the rover has discovered numerous clay minerals in mudstones along its journey around the Red Planet, even discovering river sediment within ancient lakes believed to be billions of years old.