New York – NASA’s “Perseverance” rover has taken a sample of Martian rock for the first time and stored it away safely. On Sunday, the US space agency confirmed the successful action on behalf of the six-wheeled spacecraft on Twitter, “I get it.” NASA also published an image showing a piece of rock in a round container attached to the robot’s drill.
Perseverance had already dug into a small boulder on Mars on September 2nd. Due to poor lighting conditions, engineers at the Southern California Control Center were initially unable to tell if the sample was actually in the collection tube. The new images now show in a better light that the drilling was a success.
The sample, which is slightly thicker than a pencil, will later be sent to the ground and examined. Among other things, NASA wants to know if the rock contains evidence of past microbial life on the Red Planet.
The first attempt to drill failed: the rocks of Mars were not strong enough
The first attempt to excavate in August failed. According to NASA, the rover technology worked perfectly at that time. But the rock wasn’t strong enough that the cavity only produced tiny powdery shards that couldn’t be filled into the sample tube.
Perseverance (German: Stamina) landed on Mars at the end of February in a risky maneuver. The approximately $2.5 billion (about 2.2 billion euros) rover took eight years to develop and build.