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NASA rover Curiosity drills into second Martian rock; prepares to study it in detail

curiosity drills second martian rock.jpg

May 19, 2013: NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drilled into this rock target, "Cumberland," during the 279th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars and collected a powdered sample of material from the rock's interior. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA's Curiosity rover drills again.

The space agency said Monday that Curiosity has bored a hole in a second rock and will transfer a pinch of powder to its onboard laboratories later this week for analysis.

Sunday's drill was the first major activity by Curiosity since it emerged from a monthlong hiatus. The latest drill site was located about nine feet away from the first rock that Curiosity drilled into three months earlier. A preliminary analysis of the first rock revealed evidence of an ancient environment suitable for primitive life.

Scientists wanted to study a second rock to confirm the finding.

The team hopes to wrap up soon at the current location and start the long drive to Curiosity's ultimate destination — a mountain rising from the crater floor.