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Perseverance-rover successfully collects first rocks on Mars

It's unclear if the rock sample is in the tube though

03.Sep.21 9:44 AM
By Abigail Richards
Photo NASA


Perseverance-rover successfully collects first rocks on Mars
NASA's Mars Rover Perseverance has successfully collected a sample from a Martian rock. The space agency shares a picture with a full sample tube. However, due to poor light on a second picture, it is unclear whether the sample is still in the tube.

The first picture of the sample tube shows how the tube in the hollow drill is full of Mars rock. NASA also shares a picture of the stone from which Perseverance drilled a sample. It's a stone the size of a briefcase, says the space agency. The sample is a little thicker than a pencil.

After collecting the sample, Perseverance began the percuss to ingest procedure, vibrating the drill and tube for five times a second. With these vibrations, NASA wants to make sure that the end of the tube no longer has any residual material. This operation can also cause the sample to sink further into the tube.

After this procedure, NASA took another photo with the Mastcam-Z stereo zoom cameras, but this photo no longer shows whether the sample is still in the tube or not, due to poor light. NASA thinks there's still a sample in the tube, but wants to wait for better images with more light to be sure of this. NASA receives additional images Friday and Saturday with which it hopes to confirm whether the tube is still full or not.

If these images are also inconclusive, the Perseverance team still has some options. This allows them to weigh inside the Perseverance chassis with the Sampling and Caching system whether there is material in the tube.

Perseverance drilled the stone on Wednesday. This is the first time Perseverance has successfully collected a rock sample. An earlier attempt in August failed. The rover has a total of 43 titanium tubes for soil samples, of which at least 20 are scheduled to be filled. NASA, together with ESA, wants to launch a next spacecraft to be able to bring the samples back to earth for research.

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