AFP
3 minute read
6 Sep 2021
9:28 pm

NASA confirms Perseverance Mars rover got its first piece of rock

AFP

Perseverance uses a drill and a hollow coring bit at the end of its 7-foot-long (2-meter-long) robotic arm to extract samples.

In this image released by NASA Perseverance rover shows a sample tube with its cored-rock contents inside, the bronze-coloured outer-ring is the coring bit, the lighter-coloured inner-ring is the open end of the tube, and inside is a rock core sample slightly thicker than a pencil, September 1, 2021. -(Photo by Handout / various sources / AFP) /

NASA has confirmed that its Perseverance rover has succeeded in collecting its first rock sample on Mars.

“I’ve got it!” the space agency tweeted in the early hours of Monday, alongside a photograph of a rock core slightly thicker than a pencil inside a sample tube.

NASA said last week it thought it had accomplished the feat, but poorly-lit photographs taken by the rover meant that the team operating the mission were not certain whether the sample had stayed inside its tube.

It had to retake the pictures in better lighting, but sending back the data can take several days.

“With better lighting down the sample tube, you can see the rock core I collected is still in there,” said NASA in the new tweet, adding that the next stage would be sealing this tube and storing it.

The target was a briefcase-sized rock nicknamed “Rochette” from a ridgeline that is half a mile (900 meters) long. 

Perseverance uses a drill and a hollow coring bit at the end of its 7-foot-long (2-meter-long) robotic arm to extract samples.

After coring the rock, the rover vibrated the drill bit and tube for one second, five separate times. 

(FILES) In this file image released by NASA the drill hole from Perseverance’s second sample-collection attempt can be seen, in this composite of two images taken on September 1, 2021, by one of the rover’s navigation cameras. – NASA has confirmed that its Perseverance rover has succeeded in collecting its first rock sample on Mars. “I’ve got it!” the space agency tweeted in the early hours of September 6, 2021, alongside a photograph of a rock core slightly thicker than a pencil inside a sample tube. NASA said last week it thought it had accomplished the feat, but poorly-lit photographs taken by the rover meant that the team operating the mission were not certain whether the sample had stayed inside its tube. (Photo by Handout / various sources / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / NASA/JPL-Caltech” – NO MARKETING – NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

This procedure is called “percuss to ingest” and is meant to clear the lip of the tube of residual material, and cause the sample to slide down the tube.

Perseverance landed on an ancient lake bed called the Jezero Crater in February, on a mission to search for signs of ancient microbial life using a suite of sophisticated instruments mounted on its turret.

It is also trying to better characterize the Red Planet’s geology and past climate.

Eventually NASA wants to collect samples taken by the rover in a joint mission with the European Space Agency, sometime in the 2030s.

Its first attempt at taking a sample in August failed after the rock was too crumbly to withstand the robot’s drill.

RELATED ARTICLES


RELATED ARTICLES