NASA Mars Resilience rover collects its eighth rock sample

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Now that its eighth rock sample has been secured for future examination, NASA’s state-of-the-art geological rover Red Planet continues to explore an ancient river delta.

“I store my last rock core sample (number eight!) and end here. I collect my things and head to the dry river delta. Were out.

The Perseverance rover is on a long-term mission to learn more about the possibility of life on Mars. While other Mars missions search for indications of water, the rover goes one step further by storing the most promising rocks in preparation for a sample-return mission that NASA and its European counterpart want to launch later. this decade.

Perseverance landed in February 2021 in the 45 kilometer wide Jezero Crater. Mission scientists believe that billions of years ago the crater contained a lake and a river delta, making it a rich hunting ground to sample for potential signs of ancient life.

“There we will have the opportunity to study the sedimentary rock layers, clay minerals and rounded boulders washed away far beyond Jezero. These features are remnants of Jezero’s aquatic past and clear indicators of an ancient livable environment,” Brad Garczynski, a collaborating student at Purdue University, wrote on the official Perseverance blog on March 4.

Perseverance spent most of its first (earth) year on Mars exploring an area a bit south and west of its landing site. Now the rover is on its way to the touchdown zone to resume the search in the old delta.

“If microbial life existed here in the past,” Garczynski continued, “this is one of the best places to look for it, because finely layered sludge may have buried and kept a record of that microbial activity.”

Perseverance has been on reconnaissance using its Mastcam-Z and SuperCam instruments to detect signs of the delta’s structure and minerals. Team members will use this data, along with orbital passes over the delta, to explore the path to perseverance in the weeks and months ahead.

Another helper was Ingenuity, the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) helicopter that landed with Perseverance in 2021. Ingenuity now has 21 Mars flights under its belt, exceeding its original flight plan by four times. With Ingenuity’s ability to fly well proven, the small helicopter now serves as a scout for Perseverance activities. The sample return mission, assuming things stay on track, could transport Perseverance’s carefully collected samples to Earth as early as 2031.

Summary of news:

  • NASA Mars Resilience rover collects its eighth rock sample
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