What happened during NASA’s first attempt to collect Mars samples with the Perseverance rover?

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

NASA’s Perseverance rover is exploring the Jezero Crater on Mars and attempting to collect its first rock samples. However, no rock samples were collected during the first attempt. 

About Perseverance rover:
  • The perseverance rover mission is a part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.
  • Aim: The rover is designed to study signs of ancient life, collect samples that might be sent back to Earth during future missions, and test new technology that might benefit future robotic and human missions to the planet.
Objectives of the Mission:
  • Explore a geologically diverse landing site
  • Assess ancient habitability
  • Seek signs of ancient life, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time
  • Gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by a future NASA mission
  • Demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.

Landing Site of the Rover:

  • Jezero Crater (an ancient river delta that has rocks and minerals that could only form in water).
Duration of the Mission:
  • Perseverance Rover will spend one Mars year (two years on Earth).
Instruments of the Mission:
  • The rover is carrying with it seven instruments, which include an advanced camera system with the ability to zoom, a SuperCam, which is an instrument that will provide imaging and chemical composition analysis, and a spectrometer.
  • One of the most interesting instruments aboard the rover is called MOXIE. It will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. If this instrument is successful, then future astronauts (as of now, no human being has kept the foot on Mars) can use it to burn rocket fuel for returning to Earth.
  • The rover is also carrying Ingenuity, the first helicopter to fly on Mars that will help collect samples from the surface from locations where the rover cannot reach.
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