As perseverance Justin Simon, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, drilled into the rock on Wednesday to collect samples from the Jezero Crater on Mars, both nervous and excited. He was fortunate to serve as the “sample shepherd”, leading the work millions of miles away, but the pressure continues. “These samples not only allow us to understand the geology of the crater, but also minerals that may be related to the history of the water there,” he said yesterday.

But first, the rover must actually capture a rock in a container the size of a test tube.Initial attempt in early August Up is emptyThe first stone, nicknamed “Roubion”, when the drill bit penetrated into it, it just shattered into dust, and none of these fragments entered the container.

Simon can breathe a sigh of relief now. Perseverance’s second attempt, using different rocks, seemed to succeed in extracting a Martian core slightly thicker than a pencil.

“All we got was a spectacular-looking core, a great-looking cylinder that broke cleanly. It looks very interesting geologically, and future scientists will like to do this work,” Ken Farley, a geochemist at the California Institute of Technology and project scientist for the Perseverance Mission, said the mission was led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

But the analysis of the new sample will take some time, because NASA scientists are unable to obtain clear photos due to low light conditions, which makes the images difficult to interpret. To add more drama to the scientists, when Perseverance performed the “knock to capture” procedure-shaking the sample to ensure that the test tube was not overfilled, which would block the system during storage-an image seemed to show a Empty sample tube. (They are pretty sure they got the samples, but they will try to take more images in better light in the next few days.)

Perseverance’s first drilling attempt basically shattered the sample, but it did not completely fail because it provided evidence that the rock was weathered and worn by a river that flowed into the lake’s crater billions of years ago. “This lake can always be a short-lived event, like a comet, rich in water, hit Mars and form a lake, and then it will boil or freeze within a few decades. But this will not produce the weathering we see ,” Farley said in an interview earlier this week.

Because the rock was too powdery, the scientists then drove the rover to a new area, looking for a different type of rock for sampling, using Ingenuity The helicopter reconnaissance forward. Perseverance moved slightly westward, and the researchers found a larger boulder-like rock on the ridgeline. They nicknamed it “Rochette.” When the rover deployed tools on it, it seemed unlikely to break down. . “It looks like a stone, and if you can throw it out, it will fall to the ground with a bang. A good, healthy stone,” Farley said.

Before each sampling attempt, Perseverance will conduct reconnaissance by taking photos of a bunch of candidate rocks.Also performed last weekend Wear test See if the Rochette is durable enough for sampling. The rover is equipped with a rotary percussion drill (with an additional drill bit), which can rotate and impact rocks. This tool helps to remove dust and debris from the weathered outer layer. According to Farley, the abrasion was very successful, so the scientists decided to continue grabbing samples. Perseverance stretched out the 7-foot-long robotic arm, activated the drill bit, and carefully extracted the core sample. Then it rotates the “hand” of the arm so that the sample tube can be inspected.

Source link