Data sent to Earth by the Perseverance rover indicates that no rock was collected during the initial sampling activity," NASA explained.
In February 2021, Perseverance, one of the rovers that NASA has placed for exploration on Mars, touched the ground of that planet with a great objective: to collect evidence to demonstrate the possible existence of life in the so-called 'Red planet.'
However, it was only until a couple of months ago that the robot was able to start its task since the first thing it did upon reaching Mars was to undergo a series of "system tests," in addition to supporting the "month of testing of flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter."
The rover will collect samples at a distance of about 99 miles (15 km), then prepare samples to collect on future missions that will take them back to Earth for analysis," NASA explained in a statement. Press release in July.
He also explained that the first excavation would be carried out in the Jezero crater, which, according to NASA, "was once a lake, when, billions of years ago, Mars was more humid than it is today, and the destiny of steadfastness is the dry river delta on the edge of the pit. If there was ever life on Mars, you might find traces of it.
Now, it seems that NASA's plans with Perseverance have not been carried out as expected because, on August 5, it suffered the first significant setback in the middle of the rock collection on that planet: it did not collect anything.
Data sent to Earth by NASA's Perseverance Rover after the first attempt to collect a rock sample on Mars and enclose it in a sample tube indicates that no rock was collected during the initial sampling activity. Was gone
"NASA revealed in a document published on August 6 on its official website.
Although Perseverance has already collected "43 titanium sample tubes", this is not enough for NASA, considering that the project's primary purpose is the collection of rocks and regolith (broken rock and dust) for future analysis. Biologicals on Earth.
However, for the mission scientists, although this "failure" represents a hole in the investigation of the Martian soil, it is nothing more than that. Thus, the exploration of Perseverance on the 'red planet' continues its course in search of rocks that probably, help to corroborate the existence of living beings on Mars.
"While this is not the hole we were hoping for, there is always the risk of a new Earth collapsing," said an associate administrator at NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, Thomas Zurbuchen.
"I am sure we have the right team working on this, and we will persevere towards a solution to ensure future success."
The science behind sampling
According to Jessica Samuels, director of the Stability Mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, "the sampling process is autonomous from start to finish.
" in which a drill bit is used. Hollow that, with the help of a percussion drill installed "at the end of its robotic arm (that of the Perseverance) 2 meters long", enters the Martian soil to try to extract samples that can be analyzed later on Earth.
"The rover's telemetry indicates that during its first coring attempt, the drill and bit were connected as planned and, after extraction, the sample tube was processed as planned."
However, Samuels explained, "One of the steps that occur after placing a probe in the collection tube is to measure the volume of the sample. As a result, the probe did not find the expected resistance that would have occurred if a sample had been inside the tube.