Press "Enter" to skip to content

NASA says the Mars Perseverance rover has collected its first sample

After initially failing to seize a rock sample, NASA has confirmed that Perseverance succeeded in its second try. The area company has verified {that a} pencil-width core of rust-colored rock is safely trapped in the rover’s sample tube tube, able to be processed and despatched again to Earth, CNET has reported. 

After NASA initially thought it had nabbed the first sample final month, a subsequent examine confirmed the sample tube empty. That created one thing of a mystery, with scientists questioning the place the rock may have gone. Eventually, NASA decided that the explicit sample it tried to gather was truly too powdery to be collected. “The hardware performed as commanded, but the rock did not cooperate this time,” JPL engineers mentioned at the time.

This time, NASA wasn’t getting forward of itself. While photographs taken on September 1st shortly after the operation clearly showed rock in the collector, NASA wished to be “extra certain” that it was efficiently saved. Following an operation to percuss the drill bit (and ingest the sample), new photos have been taken, however the position of the solar made it troublesome to see the rock. 

This Saturday, nevertheless, the solar cooperated and the sample inside is clearly seen. The photos match earlier photographs of a grind spot on a close-by sample part, revealing a rust-colored, presumably sedimentary rock that might present the presence of iron together with olivine and different minerals that will have precipitated from water, in keeping with Arizona State University’s Steven Ruff (by way of his YouTube channel Mars Guy). 

Now, Perseverance should course of, seal and and finally retailer the sample someplace on the floor of Mars. It will then repeat the course of and gather as many samples as potential, leaving them scattered about the floor. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will ship a Martian lander and sample assortment rover to the identical location close to Jezero Crater to assemble up these tubes and place them right into a rocket sure for Earth. 

The solely problem is that mentioned rover and rocket have not been constructed but and don’t even have a completed design. However, the companies concerned plan to launch it to Mars by 2026, with arrival there by 2028. They do not anticipate to obtain the samples till 2031, and suffice to say, all of these phases of the Perseverance project will likely be an enormous problem. 

All merchandise really useful by Engadget are chosen by our editorial staff, unbiased of our father or mother company. Some of our tales embrace affiliate hyperlinks. If you purchase one thing by considered one of these hyperlinks, we could earn an affiliate fee.