It's a clean sweep for Curiosity - literally! NASA's newest rover on Mars has recently used its Dust Removal Tool for the first time, clearing away a patch of rust-colored dust coating its latest target: a slab of rock called "Ekwir_1."
The Dust Removal Tool, or DRT (yes, the rover's cleaning instrument is called "dirt") is a motorized brush with stainless steel wire bristles located on Curiosity's multipurpose Robotic Arm turret - a veritable Swiss Army knife of planetary exploration tools.
By removing the top layer of dust, Curiosity will now be able to better investigate the composition of Ekwir_1 with its Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instruments, both of which are also mounted on the Robotic Arm turret.
The image above was captured on Jan. 6, 2013 (Sol 150) with the MAHLI instrument. A close-up of the central part of the cleared area can be seen below: