Perseverance Mars Rover Fails to Collect Rock Sample on First Attempt, But Successfully Drills Hole
01:06 GMT 07.08.2021 (Updated: 13:21 GMT 06.08.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Perseverance Rover failed to collect a rock sample on Mars in its first attempt, NASA said in a press release.
"Data sent to Earth by NASA's Perseverance rover after its first attempt to collect a rock sample on Mars and seal it in a sample tube indicate that no rock was collected during the initial sampling activity," the release said on Friday.
The Perseverance mission is assembling a response team to assess and resolve the situation, the release said.
In a separate statement, NASA said that the rover successfully drilled a hole. The failed attempt to seal a sample in the tube is something that did not occur when the equipment was tested on Earth, NASA said.
#SamplingMars is one of my most complicated tasks. Early pics and data show a successful drill hole, but no sample in the tube–something we’ve never seen in testing on Earth. Mars keeps surprising us. We’re working through this new challenge. More to come. https://t.co/XyXBssvKe6 pic.twitter.com/VTNvMA2jqN— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) August 6, 2021
The rover carries 43 titanium sample tubes and is equipped with a hollow coring bit and percussive drill at the end of tis 7-foot-long robotic arm to extract samples.
The six-wheel rover that landed on Mars in February is now positioned at a site believed to contain the deepest and most ancient layers of exposed bedrock in a dry lake bed known as the Jezero Crater. The rover will collect two samples at this site, including a specimen for what NASA called "proximity science."
The samples will then be sealed and stored for subsequent NASA missions, now in development in with the European Space Agency, that would send spacecraft to Mars to collect the sealed samples and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.