NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is a day away from finishing its thoroughgoing checkout period, and soon will begin driving in search of a good rock to touch with its robotic arm and analyze. Performance of the rover’s Canadian-built alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) has checked out on a sample target of polished basalt from Earth that is mounted on the rover’s deck. Plans call for Curiosity to set off Friday in search of a piece of Mars basalt to reach out and touch with the APXS ...

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