Perseverance Rover gives first slice of Mars

By: Joshua O. Kiefer

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Left Navigation Camera (Navcam). The camera is located high on the rover’s mast and aids in driving. This image was acquired on Sep. 16, 2021 (Sol 204) at the local mean solar time of 15:23:36. NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Perseverance Mars rover grabbed its first two samples of Mars, one on September 1 and the second on September 7. The Rover took the samples from a flat rock named Rochette (French for “little rock”) and put them in two airtight tubes.

The Perseverance Rover launched July 10, 2020, and landed on February 18, 2021, and has been running a little over half a year. Perseverance has picked up where its successor, Curiosity, left off, so this time the rover is scouting the Jezero crater, an ancient lake and river delta. According to NASA, Perseverance will be collecting rock and soil samples and testing technology for future humans and robots.

The rock samples were collected and set in airtight tubes to be left there and collected in the future. According to Science News, the first sample crumbled, but the second attempt was successful. The rocks were then tested on Mars and left to be collected in the future. The rocks were found to be basalt or close to basalt, which is thought to be part of an ancient volcano. Since basalt ages well, scientists can use carbon dating to figure its age. The rock also had salt minerals that are thought to come from groundwater. The Rover will now continue on its journey to find ancient life.


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