HomeVideosWorldNASA rover Perseverance collects first rock sample from Mars

NASA rover Perseverance collects first rock sample from Mars

NASA’s Mars science rover Perseverance has collected and put away the first of many mineral samples the US space agency hopes to retrieve from the surface of the Red Planet for analysis on Earth.

The instrument, strongly connected and operated by mission experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, drilled a rock core slightly thicker than a pencil from the bed of an ancient Martian lake, then inserted it into a titanium core inside the rover. Sealed in the sample tube.

The feat, completed and publicly confirmed on 1 September NASA Late Monday, according to the space agency, marked the first such mineral sample obtained from the surface of another planet.

NASA chief and former astronaut Bill Nelson called it “a significant achievement”.

The space agency plans to collect 43 mineral samples over the next few months from the floor of Jerezzo Crater, a wide basin where scientists think water flows and microbial life may have evolved billions of years ago.

The six-wheeled, SUV-sized vehicle is also expected to unearth walls of sediment deposited at the bottom of a remnant river delta that was once excavated in a corner of the crater and believed to be a prime location for study.

Mineral Collection is the Heart of $2.7 Billion Perseverance Project.

Two future missions to Mars, jointly organized by NASA and the European Space Agency, plan to retrieve those samples and return them to Earth over the next decade, where astronomers look for signs of small fossil organisms. Will check

A Mars helicopter flies over Mars in an undated illustration provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters)A Mars helicopter flies over Mars in an undated illustration provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters)

Such fossils would represent the first conclusive evidence that life ever existed beyond Earth.

Persistence, the fifth and most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, before it, Sojourner, arrived in 1997, landing in Jerezzo Crater in February after a 293 million-mile flight from Earth.

The success of the first sample collection, taken from a flat, briefcase-sized rock using a rotary-percussive drill on the end of Perseverance’s robotic arm, was verified through imagery taken by the rover’s cameras as the sample measured, was cataloged and archived, NASA said.

The rover’s sampling and caching system, consisting of more than 3,000 parts, was described by JPL’s interim director Larry James as “the most complex mechanism ever sent into space”.

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