The Little Rover That Could: Perseverance Successfully Stores Rock Sample Bound for Earth
02:17 GMT 07.09.2021 (Updated: 16:59 GMT 12.04.2023)
The news of an interplanetary scale comes after NASA believed it had captured its first sample with Perseverance last month, although further examination revealed that the sample tube was empty, puzzling the technicians and scientists involved in the project.
NASA has announced that the Perseverance rover succeeded in its second attempt at collecting rock samples on the red planet after an initial effort to collect samples proved unsuccessful.
"NASA has a history of setting ambitious goals and then accomplishing them, reflecting our nation’s commitment to discovery and innovation," according to NASA administrator Bill Nelson in an agency news release on the successful task. "This is a momentous achievement and I can’t wait to see the incredible discoveries produced by Perseverance and our team."
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 6, 2021
Over the past month, scientists, after the first soil-gathering attempt, were perplexed as to where the initial rock sample could have gone. NASA eventually discovered that the material of the sample it was attempting to analyze was too powdered to be viable.
The mission engineers noted at the time that although the technology "performed as commanded... the rock did not cooperate this time."
With this attempt, NASA was in no hurry to share the news without double-checking the results. Although photos taken on September 1 right after the procedure plainly showed rock in the collector, NASA wanted to be sure that it was successfully stored.
Their efforts to confirm the sample took considerable time as they had to wait until the Sun cooperated enough to highlight the stone stored in the tube.
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 5, 2021