NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is on a mission to collect samples. After a failed attempt, the rover made a second try to pick a sample. According to NASA, Perseverance has likely collected a rock sample this time. It said that data received from Perseverance hints that it has retrieved a sample in the second attempt. The rover executed its goal of coring a rock as commanded. The agency has described the sample collection exercise as a historic event. It said that the rover sent images after collecting a rock sample. Images show a sample inside a tube after the coring exercise. The agency said that sample is intact in the tube. The rover maneuvered the corer after completing the task.
NASA said that the rover’s target this time was a rock about the size of a briefcase. The rock belonged to a ridgeline. It is more than 900 meters long. The photos show the end of a cored rock in a tube that Perseverance is carrying for storing samples. The internal portions of the tube are not visible in photos because of poor lighting. NASA launched the rover in July last year. It arrived at the planet in February this year. It is the first mission to collect Martian rock and dust that will be brought back in the future. The rover’s objective is to search for possible signs of microbial life on Earth’s neighbor. It landed inside the Jezero Crater. The crater is believed to be filled with water once.
Perseverance had earlier failed to collect rock samples. The unsuccessful attempt was made in August. It was the rover’s first attempt to retrieve a sample. NASA said that Perseverance managed to drill a hole. The rover used its robotic arm to drill a hole on the planet. However, the whole exercise didn’t go as planned. It failed to collect and store samples. NASA later explained that the rover failed in its first attempt as it was soft rock. The agency said that Perseverance drilled to the proper depth. But the rock was not strong. The rock was powdered. The powdered rock remained in the hole. Perseverance drilled nearly 8 centimeters but the rock didn’t produce a core sample.