Mars rover gathers first rock sample, plans for a carrier to Earth

NASA’s Mars science rover Perseverance has gathered and buried the first of various mineral samples that the U.S. space office desires to recover from the surface of the Red Planet for analysis on Earth.

Tools connected to Perseverance and worked by mission experts from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory close to Los Angeles drilled a rock core marginally thicker than a pencil from an antiquated Martian lake bed, then, at that point hermetically sealed it in a titanium specimen tube inside the rover.

The accomplishment, achieved on Sept. 1 and publicly affirmed by NASA late on Monday, denoted the first such mineral sample got from the surface of another planet, as per the space office.

NASA chief and former astronaut Bill Nelson hailed it as “a momentous achievement.”

The space organization intends to gather upwards of 43 mineral samples throughout the next few months from the floor of Jerezo Crater, a wide basin where researchers think water flowed and microbial life might have thrived billions of years prior.

The six-wheeled, SUV-sized vehicle is likewise expected to investigate walls of sediment deposited at the foot of a remnant river delta once carved into a corner of the crater and considered a prime spot for study.

Mineral collection is the core of the $2.7 billion Perseverance project.

Two future missions to Mars, to be together led by NASA and the European Space Agency, are wanted to recover those specimens in the next decade and return them to Earth, where astrobiologists will analyze them for indications of little fossilized organisms.

Such fossils would represent the first conclusive proof that life has existed at any point ever past Earth.

Perseverance, the fifth and by a long shot most complex rover NASA has shipped off Mars since its first, Sojourner, shown up in 1997, arrived in Jerezo Crater in February after a 293 million-mile flight from Earth.

Achievement of the first sample collection, taken from a flat, briefcase-sized rock using the rotary-percussive drill toward the finish of Perseverance’s robotic arm, was verified through imagery taken by the rover’s cameras as the sample was measured, cataloged and stored, NASA said.

The rover’s sampling and caching system, comprising of in excess of 3,000 sections, was depicted by JPL’s interim director, Larry James, as “the most complex mechanism ever sent into space.”