The NASA Mars rover Curiosity will be spending the Christmas holidays in a shallow depression that's been named Yellowknife Bay.

The rover reached the lip of a half-metre descent into Yellowknife Bay on Dec. 11. Since then the rover has been providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill. Collecting a sample from within a rock has never been attempted before on Mars.

In August, NASA scientists said the spot on Mars where the Curiosity rover landed had been named Yellowknife, after the capital of the Northwest Territories, because of the city’s link to the exploration of North America's oldest rocks.

The city is located on the shore of Yellowknife Bay on Great Slave Lake.

Curiosity’s two-year mission is to assess whether areas inside the planet’s Gale Crater ever offered a habitable environment for microbes.