In a series of new raw images taken by Mars rover Curiosity's Navcams, it appears that mission managers have given the command for the rover's robotic arm to reach out to its first contact science target, a pyramid-shaped rock named "Jake Matijevic." The rock is named after the mission's chief systems engineer who died shortly after the Mars Science Laboratory touched down on the Red Planet on Aug. 5/6.
Not an impossible drama if you are Rod Serling and it is a script for the Twilight Zone...
Spokesperson for a massive crowd of fearful citizens:
Sire, we are so afraid of the one armed behemoth that came here six units ago. Even though it moves slowly, many citizens have been run over, crops destroyed, and we are afraid that your great funerary pyramid will be destroyed...all our labors lost.
What should we do?
"Curiosity 'Reaches Out' to Pyramidal Mars Rock: Big Pic"
September 20th, 2012
During a press briefing at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on Wednesday, mission scientists pointed out that some careful maneuvering will be required to ensure the turret of the robotic arm (with a suite of scientific instruments attached) is positioned correctly before the science can begin. The shadow of the robotic arm can be seen below as it's deployed over the rocky surface. The rock, which measures about 10 inches (25 centimeters) tall and 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide, will likely be analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer for reading a target's elemental composition and the Mars Hand Lens Imager for close-up imaging.
Curiosity is currently en-route to an interesting geological location called Glenelg where three different types of rock converge. After Glenelg, Curiosity will begin its long trek to the 3.4 mile (5.5 km) high Aeolis Mons (known unofficially as Mount Sharp) that resides in the center of Gale Crater.