In new photographs sent to Earth from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the one-ton robot has botched some home repairs.
PHOTOS: Curiosity Snaps Selfies, Begins Mars Rock Drill
Captured on Sol 867 (Tuesday, Jan. 13) by the Mars Science Laboratory's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), the photos show a flat, dusty slab before the rover's robotic arm-mounted drill started boring into the rock.
In a followup shot of the same slab an hour later, long cracks shatter the rock, an obvious sign that drilling operations had to cease. The rover science team will now seek out another location to drill.
Test drills are essential before mission managers decide which rocks are suitable for full drilling operations, which see Curiosity's powerful drill bit sink around 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) below rock surfaces. Rock samples need to hold firm and must not shatter.
PHOTOS: Curiosity Drills Hole Into Mars Rock