NASA’s Perseverance rover drilled a second hole in a rock called Rochette and sealed another sample in a special titanium tube capsule, which the machine has a large supply of on board.
The second mini-mission to collect materials was successfully completed just four days after the Martian rover, after one unsuccessful attempt, finally received the first sample from the same rock.
The Perseverance rover landed inside the 45-kilometer-long Jezero crater on February 18 this year. The main task of the six-wheeled robot was to search for ancient traces of life on the Red Planet, as well as collect and store dozens of samples of local soil, which will be delivered to Earth by a joint US-European mission in about ten years.
Previously, the rover also documented the first flights of the Ingenuity Mars helicopter, most of the time traveling the Red Planet aboard Perseverance. The helicopter has already begun its “extended” missions, exploring areas of potential interest for the rover.
As soon as the samples arrive on Earth, scientists from laboratories in many countries will have access to their study to search for traces of extraterrestrial life and “clues” about the history of changes in the Martian climate and geology.
The first time Perseverance tried to capture the rock particles was on August 5, but it turned out to be very soft and crumbled into dust under the rover drill. The more durable Rochette allowed two samples to be taken successfully.
Today NASA will host a conference on recent sampling attempts and share what the Perseverance team has learned from their results. You can watch it directly on the space agency website.
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