NASA’s Perseverance rover has added the first sample of Martian rock – a core from the Jezero Crater – to its rock collection. The sample is only slightly thicker than a pencil and is the first-ever core sample of rock from another planet.
NASA’s Perseverence Rover made this official, tweeting images of the sample collected. The rover team has been keeping space enthusiasts from across the globe, as informed via the rover’s twitter handle.
Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California received data that confirmed the historic milestone. The Perseverance rover had earlier collected the sample but the same could not be confirmed due to bad lighting.
The core is now enclosed in an airtight titanium sample tube, making it available for retrieval in the future. Through the Mars Sample Return campaign, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are planning a series of future missions to return the rover’s sample tubes to Earth for closer study, said NASA in its report.
“NASA has a history of setting ambitious goals and then accomplishing them, reflecting our nation’s commitment to discovery and innovation,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This is a momentous achievement and I can’t wait to see the incredible discoveries produced by Perseverance and our team.”
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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