The persevering rover had a somewhat wrong start on its Mars science expedition last month, when it appeared to have managed to collect a rock only to find its sampling tube. empty. In its second attempt at the cavity, NASA guided the rover into a different patch of rock, and images received on Earth today indicate that the rover was able to secure and secure a sample of Martian rock from that second location. Years from now, another mission may pick up samples of perseverance and carry them back to Earth, where scientists will be able to examine Martian material up close.
NASA has yet to confirm that the probe’s extraction was successful, and until it does, there will be a little uncertainty. As early as September 2, the rover’s social media team confirmed that the rocky target had been successfully drilled, Post a picture of the rock An exquisite hole in the middle. But this is not a guarantee in itself – a similar photo of a hole in the ground indicated that the first rock sample site had been excavated, but the probe did not actually preserve any rocks. NASA concluded that the first sample likely collapsed into dust, surprising mission scientists who expected the rocks to behave differently.
In the last attempt, we have images from the rover showing it holding a piece of the red planet in the grip of the vice robot. It can be compared to later photos with a few absent rocks, indicating that the specimen was successfully inserted into the tube.
If NASA confirms that the sampling is successful, victory may lie in the formation of the second rock. The excavated rock is part of a stretch of ridgeline nicknamed the Citadel. The Citadelle emerges from the Jezero Crater, the dry lake bed that the rover skidded on in February. The site differs from the site of the previous sample attempt – Crater Floor Fractured Rough – in that NASA scientists think it will be a little more robust, so it won’t collapse as the rover erodes the surface of the rock and wraps around the layer below it.
The cores—Perseverance has room for over 30 more—are a first step toward a better understanding of Mars; if the rock samples don’t shed light on the planet’s past habitability, they will at least indicate something of the planet’s geology. NASA’s ultimate goal is return mission in the early 2030s, which will bring these tubes and their contents to Earth.
Depending on the results, Perseverance could stick around for another try at this stretch of rock or move on to its next target. Eventually, the rover is expected to sample an ancient river delta that once flowed from the lake in Jezero Crater. That’s thought to be the most likely location of stromatolite-like fossils, based on where the microbial organisms crop up on Earth.