Despite its name, one Mars rock isn't about to enrich NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with a cascade of science.
After a drilling test last week on a Mars rock dubbed "Bonanza King," Mars Science Laboratory mission managers noticed that the rock was unstable. So to avoid any unnecessary risk to the rover's robotic arm-mounted drilling tools, further drilling work in the area was canceled.
ANALYSIS: Curiosity Scrubs Mars Rock, Possible Drilling Target
Previous to the wobbly discovery, Bonanza King was cleaned by Curiosity's surface abrasion tool, which cleared off a layer of oxidized dust. In the rock is an interesting vein of white material - possibly sulfate salts - but, alas, Curiosity won't be sampling any of the rock's hidden secrets.
"We have decided that the rocks under consideration for drilling, based on the tests we did, are not good candidates for drilling," said Curiosity Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "Instead of drilling here, we will resume driving toward Mount Sharp."