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The Curiosity rover droid, which has been on the planet since 2012, is at a planned drilling site on lower Mount Sharp, called ‘Precipice’, where scientists want it to drill into the land to collect soil for analysis.

It will be the highest and youngest area of the Red Planet that has been sampled by the rover, a four-wheel drive remotely-controlled machine operated by the space agency.

The drill collects powdered rock that is analysed by laboratory instruments inside the rover. 

So far the rover has established that many the chemicals required for life to evolve do exist on Mars, but it has yet find conclusive evidence that anything, even the most simplistic form of life, did evolve.

A NASA spokesman said: “The rover is climbing to sequentially higher and younger layers of lower Mount Sharp to investigate how the region's ancient climate changed, billions of years ago.

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