NASA’s Perseverance rover drills 1st Mars rock sample for an (eventual) return to Earth

NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully drilled in a rock on the surface of the Mars and collected samples to be returned to Earth.

The announcement of the achievement was made by Perseverance rover’s chief engineer, Adam Stelzner, through a Twitter post on Thursday, that read, ‘I’ve never been more happy to see a hole in a rock.`

Although Stelzner went ahead to call it “perfect core sample”. However, the team stressed, that a bit more data was needed before the sampling run could be conclusively declared a success.

Perseverance rover said in a tweet, “Sampling Mars is underway. I have drilled into my rock target, and my team will be looking at more data and images to confirm if we were able to get and retain an intact earth”.

Also, it is the second attempt to collect the first samples from the Martian surface in its search for ancient microbial life. Prior to this, just a month ago ( Aug 5), Perseverance drilled into much softer rock, and the sample crumbled and didn’t get inside the titanium tube. The rover then drove a distance of half-mile to search for a better sampling spot to try again. After which, the team members analyzed data and pictures before declaring success.

As per the sources, the Perseverance rover had arrived at Mars in February, and the samples were collected and stored by the SUV-sized rover trundling in the Jazero crater to return them to success.

Moreover, the Systems Engineer at NASA/JPL, Rachel Kronyak, said that they were referring to all of the activities related to a sampling event, a process that takes over a week to complete on Mars.

Regarding the rover, it is a robotic geologist, that studies the rocks around it to understand how the area was formed. However, the top surface of the rock can be dramatically changed due to environmental events, it’s the interior where the real science is secured.

Furthermore, NASA plans to launch more such spacecrafts in order to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance.

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