NASA’s Perseverance rover completed the collection of the first sample of Martian rock. What it collected was nothing short of impressive. It found a piece from the core of Mars’ Jezero Crater slightly thicker than a pencil.
It then sealed that sample in an airtight titanium tube so that NASA and ESA could retrieve it in the future. The mission to retrieve these samples is known as the Mars Sample Return campaign, and the materials would be the first to be returned to Earth from another planet.
“NASA has a history of setting ambitious goals and then accomplishing them, reflecting our nation’s commitment to discovery and innovation,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. “This is a momentous achievement and I can’t wait to see the incredible discoveries produced by Perseverance and our team.”
It was on Wednesday, September 1, that the rotary percussive drill at the end of Perseverance’s robotic arm drilled into a Mars rock playfully nicknamed “Rochette.”
Then the rover’s Mastcam-Z camera instrument was used to image the contents of the still-unsealed tube and transmit the results back to Earth to ensure a sample had indeed been collected.
Mission controllers were then able to confirm the cored rock’s presence in the tube.
This mission brought together the best of science, engineering, and technology to look for life on Mars and sample a piece of the Red Planet that is bound to give us much more information on this nearby planet.