Mars Rover "Perseverance" Has Trouble Collecting Samples!
On the Red Planet, the "Perseverance" rover has started drilling on the surface. NASA images show a hill with a hole in the middle next to the Mars rover - but the collection did not work.
The borehole was intended to prepare the collection of soil samples. The aim is to look for signs of ancient microbial life that may have been retained in ancient lake debris. Scientists suspect that there was a deep lake there around 3.5 billion years ago, which emptied and refilled several times over the course of time. The scientists also hope to gain a better understanding of the geological conditions on Mars.
However, images from the US space agency NASA show that the Mars rover "Perseverance" failed in its first attempt to collect rock samples from the Red Planet. The rover appears to have piled a small heap with a hole in the middle - it is the first hole that a robot has ever drilled on Mars - but the data transmitted by Perseverance showed that no rock was collected during the drilling became.
NASA representative Thomas Zurbuchen announced that this was not the result hoped for. But the team in charge will now work on a "solution" for collecting the samples. Collecting rocks is expected to take eleven days.
"Perseverance" had left Florida a little over a year ago and landed in the Jezero crater on Mars in February. Since landing on the Red Planet in February, the rover has moved about a kilometer south and is now in an area with much older rock, said NASA scientist Ken Farley.
Hoping for Groundbreaking Insights
"When Neil Armstrong took the first sample from the Sea of Calm 52 years ago, he began a process that should lead to completely new insights into the moon," said Research Director Thomas Zurbuchen. "I have every hope that the first Perseverance sample from Jezero Crater and all subsequent samples will do the same for Mars."
The collected samples are to be examined for their chemical and mineral composition in order to find out whether the rock is of volcanic origin or it is sedimentary rock. In addition, "Perseverance" is to look for traces of earlier microbial life. It will be years before the scientists can analyze the samples themselves: NASA is not planning a mission together with the European Space Agency (ESA) to collect the samples and bring them back to Earth until the 2030s.
A Chinese Rover is Also Rolling on Mars
China landed on Mars for the first time in May. The landing module of the spacecraft "Tianwen-1" touched down with the rover "Zhurong" on board on the surface of the red planet, as the Chinese space agency CNSA announced. The mission was "a complete success" and another "important milestone" in the Chinese space program, said CNSA boss Zhang Kejian after a report by the state news agency Xinhua.
"Tianwen-1" broke from Earth in July 2020 and reached Mars orbit in February. The Chinese mission is one of three flights to Mars that took off from Earth last summer. The United Arab Emirates and the USA had also sent rockets towards Mars at that time.