Mars rover Curiosity photos, video: NASA's rover uses robotic arm to examine rock 'Jake Matijevic'

NASA's rover Curiosity, which is currently on an incredible journey trough Martian terrain, touched a Martian rock for the first time Sept. 22 with its robotic arm.

According to NASA, Curiosity was assessing what chemical elements are in the rock, which has been named "Jake Matijevic."

NASA says Curiosity needed to take a short drive in order to get within arm's reach of the football-size rock. The rover used its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument to examine the rock during its 46th day on Mars.

The APXS is on a turret at the end of the rover's 7-foot arm. The Mars Hand Lens Imager ( MAHLI), on the same turret, was used for close-up inspection of the rock, NASA says.

The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, which shoots laser pulses at a target from the top of Curiosity's mast, also assessed what chemical elements are in the rock Jake Matijevic. Using both APXS and ChemCam on this rock provides a cross calibration of the two instruments, according to NASA.

According to, Curiosity landed on Mars seven weeks ago to begin a two-year mission using 10 instruments to assess whether a carefully chosen study area inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.

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