NASA’s Perseverance Rover Successfully Completes Collection Of First Mars Rock Sample
United States space agency NASA’s Perseverance rover on Tuesday (7 September) completed the collection of the first sample of Martian rock, a core from Jezero Crater slightly thicker than a pencil.
Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California received data that confirmed the historic milestone, the US space agency said in a statement.
Perseverance rover retrieved the rock sample at its second attempt on 1 September, after failing in its first attempt in early August. While Perseverance, using its 2-metre-long robotic arm, drilled a hole on Mars, it could not collect and store as intended in its first attempt.
The core is now enclosed in an airtight titanium sample tube, making it available for retrieval in the future.
Through the Mars Sample Return campaign, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are planning a series of future missions to return the rover’s sample tubes to Earth for closer study. These samples would be the first set of scientifically identified and selected materials returned to our planet from another, the space agency said.
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis, it added.
“Getting the first sample under our belt is a huge milestone,” said Perseverance Project Scientist Ken Farley of Caltech.
“When we get these samples back on Earth, they are going to tell us a great deal about some of the earliest chapters in the evolution of Mars. But however geologically intriguing the contents of sample tube 266 will be, they won’t tell the complete story of this place. There is a lot of Jezero Crater left to explore, and we will continue our journey in the months and years ahead," Farley added.
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