1. Headline
  1. Headline

The sophisticated grinding tool deployed by NASA’s rover Opportunity was apparently no match for a chunk of martian rock.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Kevin Sharp, 'Nobody Knows' country singer, dies at 43

      Kevin Sharp, a country music singer who overcame a rare form of bone cancer to top the charts with songs like "Nobody Know...

    2. Prince George meets George the marsupial on zoo trip
    3. Miss America defends student suspended for asking her to prom
    4. Real wedding: After marrying in India, couple plan sleek NYC ceremony
    5. Ouch! Baseball player hit in face by 90-mph fastball

The rover was to use its rock abrasion tool Sunday to grind away at a martian outcropping dubbed “Flat Rock,” but the tool left “no discernible impression on the rock,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory reported.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists now hope to learn more about the rock’s makeup by scraping its exterior. All indications are that the tool is working, NASA said.

Researchers also plan to have Opportunity use its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to identify the rock’s chemical elements before attempting to grind away at it again later this week.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Mars, Opportunity’s twin rover, Spirit, traveled nearly 86 feet Saturday , bringing its total odometer reading to more than 822 feet. But because Spirit had to maneuver around several obstacles on its journey, it made a net gain of just 72 feet toward its ultimate destination, a large depression scientists have nicknamed the “Bonneville Crater.”

Spirit was expected to use an array of scientific tools to take measurements of its surroundings before continuing toward the crater.

The twin rovers’ $820 million mission was designed to seek geological clues to whether ancient Mars had enough water to have supported life. Both rovers have now found evidence of past water activity on the planet, NASA announced last week.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. TODAY

    video Former Columbine student meets other school shooting survivors

    4/20/2014 1:59:51 PM +00:00 2014-04-20T13:59:51
  1. TODAY

    video Ouch! Baseball player hit in face by 90-mph fastball

    4/20/2014 1:22:19 PM +00:00 2014-04-20T13:22:19
  1. Nick Lisi / AP

    Miss America defends student suspended for asking her to prom

    4/20/2014 5:57:24 PM +00:00 2014-04-20T17:57:24
  1. Pool / Reuters

    Prince George meets George the marsupial on zoo trip

    4/20/2014 3:44:05 PM +00:00 2014-04-20T15:44:05
  1. TODAY

    video Death toll rises as divers enter sunken South Korean ferry

    4/20/2014 1:23:09 PM +00:00 2014-04-20T13:23:09