The Perseverance rover of the US space agency, NASA, has been trying to collect a rocky sample from the Martian surface for the past few days. The first attempt to collect the mineral, called Rochette, failed. The second, however, was successful: humanity now has a rock in the Montdenier region, on Mars, which could boost research for traces of life on the neighboring planet.
Perseverance landed in the large Jezero Crater on the red planet in February this year and has since captured numerous images and even audio of Mars’ atmosphere. In May of this year, the rover began the process of identifying and collecting rock fragments in the crater.
I’ve got it! With better lighting down the sample tube, you can see the rock core I collected is still in there. Up next, I’ll process this sample and seal the tube. #SamplingMars
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 5, 2021
I achieved! With better lighting in the sample tube, you can see that the rock core I collected is still inside. Next, I’m going to process this sample and seal the tube. #Sampling Mars
Scientists suspect that the Jezero Crater is the site where an ancient lake once existed. Collecting samples at the site can not only help reconstruct the history of Mars, but also help search for traces of life on the planet. Perseverance will bring the rock samples to Earth at the end of their mission with the Ingenuity helicopter, which is due to end in 2033.
The researchers had to wait a few days until the sun was in the correct position to illuminate the tube where Rochette’s sample was stored, inside the Perseverance, which has no internal light. Upon confirmation of successful collection, the rover will begin processing the rock and seal the pipe. We may soon have results from the sample studies.
In Search of Life: Perseverance, NASA rover, begins studies of Jezero Crater on Mars
After being photographed by the Ingenuity helicopter, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) rover Perseverance is finally beginning important studies into the history of Mars.
This is because the mission companion drone managed to take off successfully and is already taking part in more audacious tests, it is no longer strictly necessary to use the rover as a communication base between Ingenuity and NASA orbiters.
Perseverance landed in the large Jezero Crater of the red planet in February of this year, almost seven months after launch. Since then, several images and even audio of the atmosphere of Mars have been successfully captured.
The mission had as a landing site this crater because of suspicions that it was an ancient lake, and where there was water there was probably life — that’s what the scientists want to find out.
The studies led by the rover will have all the scientific instruments attached to reconstruct the history of the Jezero Crater, whose name means “lake” in Croatian. In this way, it will be possible to try to understand when and how the ancient lake formed and dried up.
In addition, Perseverance’s mission is to identify and collect rock fragments found at the site not only to help date the crater’s history, but also to analyze the possibility of life on Mars. The rover will take samples and bring them to Earth at the end of the mission, which should end in 2033.
So far, the rover has already been able to use the attached super camera to analyze some samples, but many details remain unknown.
Geologists and scientists intend to further study these remains to understand whether the rocks found in Jezero Crater are sedimentary or igneous; in the first case, the fragments may contain traces of past lives, while in the second it will be possible to investigate and date more closely the history of the area.
One of the complications of this collection process is that, in order to be analyzed without contamination from the erosion of millions of years, the rocks need to be “cut”. To do something similar, Perseverance uses built-in tools to remove surface layers and discover the inner areas of the material.
Are you interested in space science? Do you believe that Perseverance studies will reveal that Mars once harbored living beings?