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The Perseverance rover drilled into Martian rocks, hoping to collect the first batch of samples returned to Earth

Mars perseverance rover. Know more…

Friday, 3rd September 2021

The Perseverance Mars rover has pierced the rock. This is the second attempt to collect the first samples from the surface of Mars in search of ancient microbial life. The samples will be collected and stored by an SUV-sized rover that travels through the Jazero crater to send them back to Earth.


"Mars sampling is in progress. I have drilled my rock target and my team will analyze more data and images to confirm if we can obtain and retain a complete core," the Perseverance rover said in a tweet. text. In a blog post, NASA / JPL systems engineer Rachel Kronyak said that we are referring to all activities related to the sampling event, which will take more than a week to complete on Mars.


The rover is a robotic geologist who studies the rocks around him to understand how the area was formed. However, the upper surface of the rock will change drastically due to environmental events, and the real science is inside. "The undisturbed rocks below the surface may contain important clues about the history of the area," Jet Propulsion Laboratory said.

This is the second attempt to collect rock samples after the first attempt failed due to powdery materials.


How does Perseverance rover drill?

The Perseverance rover is not the first machine to drill holes on the surface of Mars. Both the Spirit and Opportunity rover are equipped with a Rock Wear Tool (RAT), a high-speed grinder with a brush to remove and remove the outer shell of the Perseverance rover created worn patches that look like those made by the Spirit and the Opportunity of one, but it is different.


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The Perseverance uses a rotary hammer drill and a set of interchangeable bits designed to collect cores (rock samples), worn layers (soil samples), and create worn patches. The drill bit has an unusual tooth profile in which three parallel lines of different lengths are arranged asymmetrically. When rotated, the unusual tooth pattern forms a criss-cross shape, forming a cool, smooth, flat rock about two inches in diameter.


Perseverance uses another tool on the turret to remove cuts, called the Gas Dust Removal Tool (GDRT). The GDRT has a nitrogen tank that uses four short jets to blow off the cuttings, exposing the fresh rock surface below.


"The rover can use its suite of instruments to study wear. These observations provide information about the formation of the area and help the team decide whether to obtain a sample from the core of that rock," said NASA's sampling engineer, Iona Brockie, in a statement.


The process before drilling

Although drilling is the last action, it takes a lot of coordination and science to reach the perfect position, hoping to find the correct sampling point. The rover team must use scientific instruments and cameras to make reconnaissance observations, and use a drill bit to polish the top centimeter of the rock's surface to form a worn patch. They then used scientific instruments to analyze the fresh rock surface in the worn patches.


The team then selected a rock to collect core samples and used a drilling rig to extract the core samples and transport them to the rover's abdomen, where they went through a series of complex evaluations, imaging, sealing, and final storage. . The rover has now found a partner in the Ingenuity helicopter, which has been surveying the area in midair and determining the possible location of future core samples.


"The sun path sampling is purely for efficiency. The sun path is packed with activities and the goal is to organize the path in a logical sequence to maximize the use of the rover's resources," said Rachel Kronjak.


The News Talkie Bureau



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