NASA’s Perseverance rover has grabbed another rock that could contain clues concerning whether there is life on Mars.
“Exciting news: Not merely did Not long ago i grab a fresh rock core (#11), but plans are coming together to create these samples back again to Earth,” the Perseverance rover‘s account tweeted (opens in new tab) Monday.
NASA has redesigned the Mars sample return mission to create Perseverance the principal sample collection rover, discarding previous plans to employ a fetch rover from the European space agency, the agency announced the other day. As backup, NASA will task two new helicopters to get the samples themselves.
Also the other day, NASA officials told reporters that the 11th rover sample is really a sedimentary rock that may contain biomarkers, or indications of life. Although Perseverance can perform preliminary analysis on its samples, it might not tote many instruments with it to Mars, therefore scientists are wanting to ferry the caches back again to Earth for more descriptive analysis.
Hence the sample return mission, that is a joint effort of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and is scheduled to launch to the Red Planet in 2028. For the time being, Perseverance will prepare samples that it collects in Jezero Crater and discover a convenient location where in fact the sample return mission could land.
Following the sample return mission lands, Perseverance will ferry samples to a little rocket called the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). The rocket will launch the samples to an orbiter which will relay the rocks to Earth for analysis by scientists.
Perseverance contains 43 test tubes, which 38 are anticipated to be filled up with samples. The rover team is careful to get probably the most promising examples from the collection area never to waste precious cargo space.
The mission landed on Mars in February 2021 and filled its first tube in September 2021. Right now, it really is examining a river delta that could include past traces of life within the region, in accordance with past briefings with Perseverance officials.
Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is really a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to greatly help others explore the universe. Elizabeth’s on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from the simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada’s Carleton University. Elizabeth can be a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got thinking about space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, but still really wants to be an astronaut someday.