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NASA Perseverance Mars Rover To Acquire First Sample



NASA Perseverance Mars Rover To Acquire First Sample
Perseverance Scouts First Sampling Location


Perseverance Scouts First Sampling Location: A light-colored “paver stone” like the one seen in this mosaic will be the likely target for the Perseverance rover’s first sampling. The photo was taken on July 8, 2021 in the geological unit “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough” in the Jezero Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
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The six-wheeler’s science campaign has laid the foundation for the mission’s next major milestone.

NASA is making final preparations for its Perseverance Mars rover to collect its first-ever sample of Mars rock, which will transport future planned missions to Earth. The six-wheeled geologist is looking for a scientifically interesting target in part of Jezero crater called the “Cratered Floor Fractured Rough”.

Perseverance's first road trip


Perseverance’s first road trip: This annotated image from Jezero Crater shows the routes for Perseverance’s first science campaign (yellow hash marks) and the second (light yellow hash marks). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

This important mission milestone is expected to begin within the next two weeks. Perseverance landed at Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, and NASA began the science phase of the rover mission on June 1, exploring a 2.5-square-mile (4 square kilometer) stretch of crater floor that could contain the deepest and oldest layers of Jezero. .

“When Neil Armstrong the… first monster from the Sea of ​​​​Tranquility 52 years ago, he began a process that would rewrite what humanity knew about the moon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA headquarters. “I am confident that the first Perseverance sample from Jezero Crater, and the next, will do the same for Mars. We are on the threshold of a new era of planetary science and discovery.”

Perseverance Mars Rover First example location

Perseverance Rover Location: This map shows the landing site for NASA’s Perseverance rover at Jezero Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

It took Armstrong 3 minutes and 35 seconds to collect that first lunar sample. Perseverance will take about 11 days to complete the first sample, as it must receive its instructions from hundreds of millions of miles, while relying on the most complex and capable, as well as the cleanest mechanism ever sent into space – the Sampling and cache system.


Precision tools work together

The sampling sequence begins with the rover placing everything necessary for sampling within reach of its 7-foot-tall (2-meter-long) robotic arm. It will then conduct an image survey so that NASA’s science team can determine the exact location for taking the first sample and a separate target location in the same “proximity science” area.

“The idea is to get valuable data about the rock we’re going to sample by finding its geological twin and doing detailed in-situ analysis,” the science campaign said. colead Vivian Sun, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “On the geological double we first use an abrasive bit to scrape off the top layers of rock and dust to expose fresh, unweathered surfaces, blow it clean with our Gas Dust Removal Tool, then get up close and personal with our tower-mounted proximity science instruments SHERLOC, PIXL, and WATSON.”

Crater Floor Broken Rough First Monster Target

Perseverance First example location: This annotated image shows the area within the Cratered Floor Fractured Rough geological unit that Perseverance rover will hunt for a suitable first monster target. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) and the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera will provide mineral and chemical analysis of the abraded target.

Perseverance’s SuperCam and Mastcam-Z instruments, both on the rover’s mast, will also participate. As SuperCam fires its laser at the abraded surface, spectroscopically measures the resulting plume and collects other data, Mastcam-Z will capture high-resolution images.


Working together, these five instruments will enable unprecedented analysis of geological materials in the workplace.

“After our pre-coring science is complete, we will limit rover tasks to a sol or a Mars day,” Sun said. “This allows the rover to fully charge its battery for the next day’s events.”

Watch NASA-JPL engineers test the Sample Caching system on the Perseverance Mars rover. Described as one of the most complex robotic systems ever built, the Sample and Caching System will collect core samples from the rocky surface of Mars, seal them in tubes and leave them for a future mission to retrieve them and return them to Earth. Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech

The sampling day begins with the sample processing arm within the Adaptive Caching Assembly retrieving a sample tube, heat it up and then insert it into a chuck. A device called the bit carousel transports the tube and bit to a rotary percussion drill The robotic arm of Perseverance, which will then drill the pristine geological “twin” of the rock the previous sol studied, and fill the tube with a core sample about the size of a piece of chalk.

Perseverance’s arm will then move the bit-and-tube combination back to the bit carousel, which will transfer it back to the Adaptive Caching Assembly, where the sample will be measured for volume, photographed, hermetically sealed and stored. The next time the contents of the sample tubes are seen, they will be in a cleanroom facility on Earth, for analysis with scientific instruments far too large to send to Mars.

“Not every sample that Perseverance is collecting will be done in the quest for ancient life, and we don’t expect this first sample to provide definitive evidence in any way,” said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley of Caltech. . “While the rocks in this geological unit are not great time capsules for organic matter, we believe they have been there since the formation of Jezero Crater and are incredibly valuable for filling gaps in our geological understanding of this region — things we desperately need.” will have to know if we find out that life once existed on Mars.”


More about the mission

An important goal of Perseverance’s mission on Mars is: astrobiology, including looking for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s past geology and climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Mars rock and regolith.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is the first step in NASA’s Mars Sample Return campaign. Subsequent NASA missions, now under development in conjunction with the European Space Agency, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes: Artemis missions to the moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL is operated for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California.

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