This is the first time a rover has retrieved material from below the surface of a planetNASA has confirmed that Curiosity has successfully recovered material from inside a Martian rock. The rover used its drill for the first time recently to bore a hole into a rock chosen for its peculiar makeup.
It then managed to retrieve material and place it inside its scoop to be analyzed. This is the first time a sample has been collected by a rover from below the surface of another planet. NASA only got the photos to confirm the successful sampling yesterday.
The white powder Curiosity retrieved will be run through a sieve that screens out particles larger than 150 microns, or 0.006 inches.
Some portions of the material that gets through will then be routed through Curiosity's internal "piping" to its two main chemical analysis instruments, the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument and the Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM) instrument.
Initial results from the analysis should be arriving over the next few days. The NASA team chose this particular rock to drill because it showed signs of a watery past, white gypsum veins.