NASA | The rover on Mars will take the first sample: "We are on the threshold of a new era of planetary science and discovery"
NASA is making final preparations for the Perseverance Mars rover to assemble its first sample of rock from Mars, which future missions will take to Earth. The six-wheeled geologist is looking for a scientifically interesting target in the part of the "Jezero" crater. This important mission is expected to begin in the next two weeks. The rover landed in Jezero Crater on February 18.
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"When Neil Armstrong took the first specimen from the Sea of Calm 52 years ago, he began a process that transcribed what humanity knew about the moon," said NASA's Thomas Zurbuchen. "I fully expect the first Perseverance from the Jezero crater and those to come to do the same for Mars. "We are on the threshold of a new era of planetary science and discovery."
It took Armstrong 3 minutes and 35 seconds to take that first sample from the moon. On Perseverance for about 11 days because he has to get his instructions from hundreds of millions of miles away.
"Not every specimen collected by Perseverance will be made in search of ancient life, and we do not expect this first specimen to provide definitive proof of that. Although the rocks located in this geological unit are not great time capsules for organic organisms, we believe they have existed since the formation of the Jezero Crater and are incredibly valuable in filling gaps in our geological understanding of this region - things that will desperately need "We know them if we find that life once existed on Mars," said Ken Farley of Caltech.
A key goal of the Perseverance mission to Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and climate in the past, pave the way for humans to explore the Red Planet, and this will be the first mission to collect and store rock from Mars and "sand".