NASA’s Perseverance Rover Stores First Martian Rock Sample

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NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars has confirmed the successful collection of the first rock sample.

“One down, a lot more to go!” Kenneth A. Farley, professor of geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology and the mission’s project scientist, said in an email.

On Monday night, NASA announced that the rover had sealed the tube containing the rock core, which was slightly thicker than a pencil, and lifted it for storage in its belly. This and other collected samples will be dropped on the ground for collection by another spacecraft. they will will eventually be taken back to Earthhelping scientists investigate the mysteries of the red planet, likewise Moon samples from the Apollo and Soviet missions It helped to better understand the Moon.

For decades planetary geologists have wanted to study rocks from another planet. they did this with Pieces of Mars thrown into space as a result of a meteor strike and then crossed Earth’s path and landed as meteorites. But in the case of Martian meteorites, scientists had no idea where the rocks came from – intriguing pieces of a puzzle, but no opportunity to find other pieces.

With examples of perseverance, scientists will know exactly what rocks the samples came from, and the rover will have done a detailed study of the surrounding geology.

The rover pierced the core through a flat, briefcase-sized Martian rock nicknamed Rochette last week. The rock specimen could be easily seen in the first pictures taken by the rover from the collection tube.

But Viewers on Earth were worried when the rock couldn’t be seen. in the next photos. These were taken after Perseverance used his robotic arm to shake the tube to help the sample settle to the bottom of the container. Mission managers were sure it was just hiding in the shade, but after a failed drilling attempt last month, they wanted to make sure before shutting down the tube.

Later, better-lit photos showed that the rock was still there.

The Rochette appears to be a hardened piece of lava that can be dated with certainty. Thus, scientists will be able to determine how old this rock is, and it will help determine the ages of lower, older layers.

On the first attempt to drill in August, everything in Perseverance seemed to be working perfectly, but the tube was empty. By analyzing what happened, the scientists and engineers working on the mission came to the conclusion that the first rock was very fragile and the sample fell.

Reaching Mars in February, one of Perseverance’s most important tasks is to collect rocks and soil that will eventually disperse. brought back to Earth on another mission Thus, scientists can thoroughly study them using state-of-the-art devices in their laboratories. The scientists hope to collect more than 30 samples from various locations. Jezero crater, a landing site it was chosen because scientists around the world felt that an ancient river delta running along the crater rim was a promising target for fossilized microbial life, if any.

The perseverance is to collect rock and soil samples, but there is no way to send them back to Earth. This will await the future mission that is currently being conceived.

Saturday, Ingenuity, the robotic helicopter accompanying Perseverancemade its 13th flight, exploring a series of ledges to help plan upcoming rides by the rover.

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