NASA confirms Perseverance Mars rover got its first piece of rock

From a ridgeline measuring half a mile (900m) in length, the target was a small rock of briefcase size called "Rochette".
NASA confirmed that Perseverance's rover was able to collect its first rock sample from Mars.

"I have it!" The space agency tweeted the following message in the early hours Monday morning: "I've got it!"

NASA stated last week that it believed it had achieved the feat. However, poorly lit photographs taken by NASA's rover meant that it was not clear whether the sample had been kept in its tube.

It was necessary to retake the photos in better lighting. However, it can take several days to send back the data.

NASA tweeted that "With better lighting down on the sample tube you can see the rockcore I collected is still there" and added that sealing the tube and storing it was the next step.

From a ridgeline measuring half a mile (900m) in length, the target was a small rock of briefcase size called "Rochette".

Perseverance uses a drill to extract samples from its 7-foot (2-meter) robotic arm.

After coring the rock the rover vibrated drill bit and tube five times in succession for one second.

This is known as "percuss-to-ingest", and it is intended to remove any residual material from the tube's lip and allow the sample to slide down the tube.

Perseverance set foot on an ancient lakebed called the Jezero crater in February to search for signs that ancient microbial life with a series of sophisticated instruments mounted on its Turret.

It also aims to improve the understanding of the Red Planet's past climate and geology.

NASA plans to eventually collect samples from the rover as part of a joint mission with European Space Agency sometime in the 2030s.

The robot failed to take a sample of August rock in its first attempt.

Continue reading NASA believes the Mars Rover captured rock samples

2021 AFP

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