After a failed attempt to collect a rock sample on Mars last month, NASA’s Perseverance rover finally succeeded in this part of the mission on its second attempt, according to the US space agency.
The jipinho robot drilled into the Martian rock with a drill that sits at the end of its 2.1 m long robotic arm on Wednesday (1). From then on, the stage of collecting soil samples took place. During the procedure, the rover took pictures of the material in the tube. The images were analyzed by researchers from the agency and, despite the poor sunlight conditions, everything indicates that the content will be able to be used.
Still, better lit photos will be taken today and sent to Earth tomorrow. If they confirm that the tube still contains an intact sample, it will be sealed and stored.
“I drilled my target into the rock and my team will analyze more data and images to confirm that we can obtain and retain an intact core,” explained NASA, on the Twitter page created to be the “personality” of Perseverance on the social network.
“The first images show a sample in the tube after drilling. But the photos I took after an arm movement are inconclusive due to poor lighting. I’m taking more photos in better light to confirm that we still have an intact core in the tube,” he said. the profile.
In the first attempt, which took place on August 6, the perseverance drilled, collected and sealed a rock sample, but the team found that the tube that would hold the material was mysteriously empty. It was later discovered that this happened because the rock was too fragile in structure, and fragmented into pieces too small to be collected.
For this last attempt, the rover sought a higher region, and walked about 450 meters from the point of the first extraction, until reaching the rock that seemed to be the most rigid and firm enough for the procedure, which was nicknamed “Rochette“.
voila – a window into this rock we call “Rochette.” I ground away its outer surface I’m see what it’s like inside. I’ll study this spot with various tools, I’m help decide whether I’m go out to sample with my coring drill. #SamplingMars https://t.co/jQN5AK1EBl pic.twitter.com/8rmbeYj4Db
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) August 28, 2021
It will take some time for scientists to study this sample and the others still to be collected on Mars.
Among Perseverance’s missions on the red planet is the work of collecting rocks and soil that will be sent to Earth. AA NASA plans a mission to bring about 30 samples to our planet in the 2030s. Scientists could then conduct more detailed analyzes to confirm whether microbial life existed on Mars.
Until that moment arrives, Perseverance will continue exploring the Jezero crater in the company of the Ingenuity helicopter.