NASA Rejoices: Mars Explorer Perseverance Secures Rock Dust
Mission accomplished for the US space agency NASA’s Mars explorer. Perseverance has managed to collect and secure a sample with stone dust from Mars.
To achieve this, the Perseverance had to drill a hole in a piece of rock. “I got it,” the cart’s NASA account tweeted a few days ago. And last night, the redeeming word came, with accompanying photos as proof: the stone dust has been placed in a tube. That tube is sealed and stored in the cart.
The intention is that at some point in the future, the soil sample can be brought to Earth via another space mission. Among other things, the American space agency wants to find out whether the material contains evidence that microbes have lived on the red planet.
A previous attempt in August failed. Back then, the drilling action only yielded some rock powder, but now a sample roughly the thickness of a pencil has been secured.
The six-wheeled Mars explorer landed in a crater on the planet in late February and soon made its first ride. His working area is the crater Jezero where billions of years ago when water would have flowed on Mars, a river may have flowed into a lake.
For research on rocks and soil, the explorer is equipped with more than twenty cameras and a drill. First, the device has to collect dozens of soil samples in tubes. In 2028, a European explorer should arrive on Mars to collect the stuff.