Perseverance rover prepares to collect Martian samples that will be sent to Earth
July 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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The Perseverance rover has been observing rocks that could help tell whether life ever existed on Mars. It's preparing to collect its first sample within the next two weeks, which will be returned to Earth.
(CNN)Almost a year after NASA's Perseverance rover was launched on its nearly seven-month journey to Mars, the robotic explorer is preparing to collect its first Martian sample within the next two weeks.
"I have every expectation that Perseverance's first sample from Jezero Crater, and those that come after, will do the same for Mars.
Perseverance will receive instructions from its teams on Earth ahead of collecting the first sample.
The rover will use an abrading tool to scrape off the top layers of the rock, blow it clean and study it using Perseverance's science instruments.
On sampling day, the rover's arm will retrieve a sample tube from its cache inside Perseverance's belly and drill about 5 centimeters into the untouched twin of the rock it analyzed.
"Not every sample Perseverance is collecting will be done in the quest for ancient life, and we don't expect this first sample to provide definitive proof one way or the other," said Ken Farley, Perseverance project scientist at the California Institute of Technology, in a statement.
Perseverance's instruments can zap rocks with lasers to help scientists understand if the rocks on Mars are sedimentary or igneous, which would reveal more about water flow and ancient Martian environments.