Highlands & Islands

Nasa 'MacGyver' rover Curiosity to drill again

Curiosity Image copyright NASA/Reuters
Image caption There have been issues with Curiosity's drill since 2016

Engineers have conducted the first test of a new drilling technique on Mars in an area named after Scotland's ancient Lake Orcadie.

There have been problems with the operation of the drill on Nasa's rover Curiosity since 2016 when a key part of the tool stopped working.

But this week, after months of tests back on Earth, engineers were able to programme the drill to work again.

The test on Mars successfully created a shallow hole in rock.

Ben Nevis

Nasa said the engineers had managed to "MacGyver" the drill to work again, making reference to the 1980s US TV show about a secret agent who could escape tricky situations with the aid of mundane objects.

Prehistoric Lake Orcadie is today a series of sedimentary deposits in Scotland.

The sediments have helped geologists to understand the Devonian period on Earth, when fish began to diversify.

On Mars, Lake Orcadie is one of many geological features named after places in Scotland.

There is a St Kilda and also a Torridon and Holyrood and a meteorite called Ben Nevis on Mars.

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