NASA reported that the data received from NASA’s Perseverance rover on September 1 indicate that the team has achieved its goal of successfully coring a Mars rock.
The initial images that were downlinked after this historic event showed an intact sample present in the rover’s tube after coring. However, additional images taken after the arm completed the sample acquisition were not conclusive due to poor sunlight conditions.
Another round of images with better lighting will be taken before the sample processing continues. Although the Perseverance mission team is confident that the coring sample is present in the tube, images in optimal lighting conditions would confirm the same.
Perseverance’s Sampling and Caching System uses a rotary-percussive drill and a hollow coring bit at the end of its 7-foot-long (2-meter-long) robotic arm to extract samples slightly thicker than a pencil, said NASA. Within the bit during coring is a sample tube. After completing yesterday’s coring, Perseverance maneuvered the corer, bit, and open end of the sample tube in order to be imaged by the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument.
The target for the sample collection attempt was a briefcase-size rock belonging to a ridgeline that is more than half-a-mile (900 meters) long and contains rock outcrops and boulders, it said in its report.
Here are a series of pictures and videos in tweets by the Perseverance Mars Rover informing about all stages of the #SamplingMars mission. This rover doesn’t miss a chance, does it?
A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life, on the Red Planet. According to NASA, the rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.
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