Gathering at NASA headquarters Tuesday, the rover team will detail the minerals and chemicals present in a gray pinch of ground-up rock.
The rock results come seven months after Curiosity made a dramatic landing in an ancient crater near the equator. It has been slow going since then as engineers learn to handle the car-size rover.
Scientists are thrilled with the latest achievement — a first on Mars. It involved boring a hole, scooping the powder and running it through Curiosity’s instruments.
By analyzing the rock’s interior, researchers hope to determine whether the landing spot was habitable. They already have one hint — an ancient streambed that Curiosity crossed to get to the rock.