NASA has confirmed that its Perseverance rover has managed to collect its first rock sample on Mars.
“I’ve got it!” the space agency tweeted early Monday morning, alongside a photo of a rock core slightly thicker than a pencil in a sample tube.
I’ve got it! With better lighting in the sample tube, you can see that the rock core I collected is still inside. Then I will process this sample and seal the tube. #SamplingMars
Latest images: https://t.co/Ex1QDo3eC2pic.twitter.com/gumqpmoXBW
— NASA’s perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 5, 2021
NASA said last week it thought it had accomplished the feat, but dimly lit photos taken by the rover meant the team conducting the mission wasn’t sure if the sample had stayed in the tube.
It had to retake the photos in better lighting, but sending the data back can take a few days.
“With better lighting in the sample tube, you can see that the rock core I collected is still inside,” NASA said in the new tweet, adding that the next stage would be to seal and store this tube .
The target was a briefcase-sized rock nicknamed “Rochette” from a ridge that is 900 meters long.
Perseverance uses a drill and a hollow chuck at the end of its 2-meter-long robotic arm to extract samples.
After coring the rock, the rover vibrated the drill and tube for one second, five different times.
This procedure is called “percussion to ingest” and is intended to clear the edge of the tube of residual material and allow the sample to slide through the tube.
Perseverance landed on an ancient lake bed called Jezero Crater in February on a mission to look for signs of ancient microbial life using a range of sophisticated instruments mounted on the tower.
It also attempts to better characterize the Red Planet’s past geology and climate.
Ultimately, NASA aims to collect samples taken by the rover in a joint mission with the European Space Agency sometime in the 2030s.
The first attempt to sample a sample in August failed after the rock was too crumbly to withstand the robot’s drill.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)