The world's first mini-satellites to venture into deep space - created to monitor NASA's InSight Mars lander - have successfully oriented themselves towards the red planet, according to the U.S. space agency.
For now, everything is strictly hush-hush. On Monday, NASA announced the procedure went as planned and the machine is now ready to continue its task.
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The CubeSats, called MarCO-A and MarCO-B made history by being the first-ever interplanetary CubeSats and met another milestone by acing some critical communications tests said John Baker, program manager for planetary smallsats at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
The space agency has so far remained silent about the nature of its conference but the live discussion will detail results from the Curiosity Rover's expeditions.
The media is already speculating that Thursday's big reveal might be connected to NASA's ongoing quest of finding signs of (past or present) microbial life on Mars.
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The problem with the rover's drill was caused by a faulty motor. During InSight's entry, descent, and landing (EDL) operations, the lander will transmit information on the UHF radio band to NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) flying overhead.
The Mars Science Laboratory mission sent Curiosity rover to explore Mars in 2011. Meanwhile, the delivery of sample into the rover's chemistry lab is also slated to occur in a few days. After two years, the team made the rover use one of its robotic arms to drill into a hole. But the resourceful Curiosity team came up with a new way to move the samples - a technique dubbed "feed extended sample transfer", which is more compatible with the FED than the previously used method, CHIMRA (Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis). Between these pins, the drill is extended, bores into the rock, and then recesses back into the hand to place the sample into the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) sorting and transporting system.
"This was no small feat". Two years ago, the rover had a mechanical issue and couldn't drill into the surface, but engineers found a new way to restore that ability. The risk paid off, and now we have a key pattern that we may have never received.
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