One of Perseverance’s goals on Mars is closer to being met. The NASA rover on Wednesday extracted a sample from a rock; although until a day later we could not see the images. The piece of stone has to go into a tube to be sealed; but NASA has not been able to confirm that the samples are inside. The idea is that, in the future, that piece of Mars collected by Perseverance could reach Earth and be analyzed here; but first you have to make sure that the samples are well sealed for the trip.
The first images of the sample collected by Perseverance on Mars arrived on Thursday. But for researchers It was not clear if they could already be sealed samples or not due to sunlight. For this reason, they asked the rover to take more photos. We do not yet know if the sample is in the tube and will be able to be sealed. What we do know is that NASA still has resources to use in case they cannot see well if the piece of rock is inside.
“The project got its first core rock under its belt, and that’s a phenomenal achievement.”
“The project got its first core rock under its belt, and that’s a phenomenal achievement,” Jennifer Trosper, project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, explains in a press release. “The team determined a location, and selected and extracted the core from a scientifically valuable and viable rock. We have done what we came to do“.
On this occasion, new images will be necessary to verify that the sample is inside, according to NASA. “The obtaining additional images Before proceeding with the sealing and storage of the rock sample from Mars is an additional step that the team chose to include based on its experience with the rover’s sampling attempt on August 5, “the space agency explains in the statement.” Although the Perseverance mission team trust the sample is in the tube, images in optimal lighting conditions will confirm their presence. ”
Perseverance Sample Collection on Mars
Among Perseverance’s goals during his stay on Mars is “to look for signs of ancient microbial life, to characterize the geology and climate of the planet.” But also “collect carefully selected rock and sediment samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon“NASA said months ago.
Sample collection is done by the rover. But it won’t be Perseverance that brings them to Earth on its own. In fact, a future mission by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will be in charge of bringing them. What’s more, Airbus is developing an interplanetary ship just for this purpose. The mission that will bring the samples collected by Perseverance to Mars is known as Earth Return Orbiter (ERO). Going to the red planet is not easy; so the mission could take up to ten years to bring the pieces of rock to Earth.
Although we will still have to wait a few days to find out if the sample collected by Perseverance on Mars is inside the tube and is sealed in the correct way; We know that the idea of NASA (and also of ESA) is to bring the samples to Earth.