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Curiosity rover back to work after Martian spring break

JPL: NASA

May 08, 2013
  • NASA's Curiosity rover took a month-long break during solar conjunction, when the sun blocks easy communication to Mars.
NASA's Curiosity rover took a month-long break… (NASA-JPL )

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has emerged from its "spring break" and is back to work, officials at Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this week. Up next on the agenda: Drilling the second target at Yellowknife Bay.

The Mars Science Laboratory mission made big news shortly before its break, turning up key evidence of life-friendly environments in its first drill sample, said mission deputy project scientist Ashwin Vasavada.

The revelation came just in time. Mars slipped behind the sun during the month of April, in a phenomenon known as solar conjunction. Blocked from earthly view, Curiosity was left off the grid until May 1 -- though it continued to run through a list of chores that included checking the weather each day.

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