NASA’s Perseverance rover succeeded in its second attempt to scoop up a piece of Martian rock for future analysis by scientists on Earth—probably.
Its first effort earlier this month failed after the rock was too crumbly to withstand the robot’s drill, but data received late on September 1 indicates the process worked this time around.
The US space agency said Thursday it remains a little uncertain, because images taken after the rover’s arm completed sample acquisition were inconclusive due to poor sunlight conditions.
More images taken under better lighting are expected back by Saturday.
“The team determined a location, and selected and cored a viable and scientifically valuable rock,” Jennifer Trosper, project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said in a statement.
“We will work through this small hiccup with the lighting conditions in the images and remain encouraged that there is sample in this tube.”
The target was a briefcase-sized rock nicknamed “Rochette” from a ridgeline that is half a mile (900 meters) long.
Perseverance, NASA’s latest Mars rover, landed on the planet’s Jezero crater—the site on an ancient lake—in February on a mission to search for signs of ancient microbial life.
NASA thinks Mars rover succeeded in taking rock sample (2021, September 3)
retrieved 3 September 2021
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