Science and Nature

‘Ultimate’ Mars rock sample drilled from the Crimson Planet in historic mission


A Martian rock core sample, about the width of a pencil, sits inside the Perseverance rover's collection tube.



A Martian rock core sample, concerning the width of a pencil, sits inside the Perseverance rover’s sequence tube.
(Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Following a failed first try closing month, NASA’s Perseverance rover has efficiently drilled and captured a finest rock core from the Crimson Planet. This locations scientists one large step nearer to their design of in the future returning the rock sample to Earth, in uncover to survey it for indicators of extinct microbial lifestyles, in step with NASA.

Perseverance (or “Percy” to its guests) made its most modern drill try on Wednesday (Sept. 1), after selecting a huge, thick-attempting rock that NASA researchers nicknamed “Rochette.” The boulder sits on a ridge overlooking the nearby floor of Jezero crater, where it has endured the aspects of Mars for doubtlessly thousands and thousands of years. 

That endurance is precisely what the Perseverance team turned into once shopping for; the rover’s first try to build up a rock core quite lots of weeks ago resulted in disappointment, because the rock sample proved too crumbly and actually disappeared from the rover’s snatch.

But new photos of the Rochette drilling operation bellow that, this time round, there had been no surprise disappearances.

“You would seek for a honest attempting rock core” in the rover’s sequence tube, Kenneth A. Farley, a professor of geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology and the mission scientist for Perseverance, suggested the Fresh York Occasions.

The Martian boulder

The Martian boulder “Rochette” now has a finest drill-hole imprinted in its extinct facet. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Perseverance will retailer the sample — which is set as thick as a pencil — in its belly for the length of its mission, exploring the dried-up ruins of extinct rivers in Jezero crater. But in the future, perhaps a decade or so from now, Percy will dwelling all of its samples onto the Martian floor, where one other, as-but-unbuilt rover will attain alongside to shepherd them to a tiny rocket, in step with The Occasions. That rocket will return the samples to the protection of Earth, where scientists can analyze them in meticulous part that Perseverance might perhaps perhaps never match.

That return time out doubtless might perhaps perhaps furthermore neutral no longer happen till no longer much less than the 2030s. Meanwhile, a triumphant Percy will continue to chug alongside the Crimson Planet, now one rock sample heavier.

On the starting build published on Are dwelling Science.

Brandon Specktor

Brandon has been a senior author at Are dwelling Science since 2017, and turned into once previously a employees author and editor at Reader’s Digest magazine. His writing has appeared in The Washington Put up, CBS.com, the Richard Dawkins Basis net utter material and diversified stores. He holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of Arizona, with minors in journalism and media arts. He enjoys writing most about dwelling, geoscience and the mysteries of the universe.

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