NASA Mars rover fails to collect rock in search of alien life | HT Tech

NASA Mars rover fails to collect rock in search of alien life

The mission took off from Florida a little over a year ago and Perseverance, which is the size of a large family car, landed on February 18 in the Jezero Crater.

By:AFP
| Updated on: Aug 07 2021, 09:52 IST
This Tuesday, April 6, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Perseverance Mars rover, foreground, and the Ingenuity helicopter about 13 feet (3.9 meters) behind. This composite image was made by the WASTON camera on the rover's robotic arm on the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. On Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, NASA’s newest Mars rover came up empty in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth. 
This Tuesday, April 6, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Perseverance Mars rover, foreground, and the Ingenuity helicopter about 13 feet (3.9 meters) behind. This composite image was made by the WASTON camera on the rover's robotic arm on the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. On Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, NASA’s newest Mars rover came up empty in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth.  ((NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via AP))
This Tuesday, April 6, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Perseverance Mars rover, foreground, and the Ingenuity helicopter about 13 feet (3.9 meters) behind. This composite image was made by the WASTON camera on the rover's robotic arm on the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. On Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, NASA’s newest Mars rover came up empty in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth. 
This Tuesday, April 6, 2021 image made available by NASA shows the Perseverance Mars rover, foreground, and the Ingenuity helicopter about 13 feet (3.9 meters) behind. This composite image was made by the WASTON camera on the rover's robotic arm on the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. On Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, NASA’s newest Mars rover came up empty in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth.  ((NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via AP))

NASA's Perseverance drilled into the surface of Mars but failed in its initial attempt to collect rock samples that would be picked up by future missions for analysis by scientists on Earth. The US space agency published images Friday of a small mound with a hole in its center next to the rover -- the first-ever dug into the Red Planet by a robot. But data sent to Earth by the rover after its first attempt to collect a sample and seal it in a tube indicated no rock had been gathered.

"While this is not the 'hole-in-one' we hoped for, there is always risk with breaking new ground," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate, in a statement. "I'm confident we have the right team working this, and we will persevere toward a solution to ensure future success."

The drill hole is the first step of a sampling process that is expected to take about 11 days, with the aim of looking for signs of ancient microbial life that may have been preserved in ancient lakebed deposits. Scientists also hope to better understand Martian geology.

The mission took off from Florida a little over a year ago and Perseverance, which is the size of a large family car, landed on February 18 in the Jezero Crater.

Scientists believe the crater contained a deep lake 3.5 billion years ago, where the conditions may have been able to support extraterrestrial life.

NASA plans a mission to bring around 30 samples back to Earth in the 2030s, to be analysed by instruments that are much more sophisticated than those that can be brought to Mars at present.

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First Published Date: 07 Aug, 09:52 IST
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