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NASA’s Perseverance rover is hunting for ancient life

More than a year ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover soared through the Martian atmosphere and crashed into the Red Planet. “We closed our eyes in Florida and opened them to another planet,” Jim Bell, chief rover camera researcher Mastcam-Z and a researcher at Arizona State University, told Popular Mechanics. Since then, the rover and its accompanying rotor, the Ingenuity, have explored the sights and sounds of the Red Planet and even completed an experiment to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide. Overall, the rover’s main mission to explore the geology of Mars was successful. It has zippers around the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater, taking photos, collecting samples and providing an ever-expanding view of Mars’ ancient past. Next year, the rover is scheduled to explore the most important feature of the crater. Since launching its sampling campaign last August, Perseverance has collected 43 pencil-sized rock samples – from olivine-rich volcanic rock to brittle sedimentary rock – from various locations inside the crater. The researchers hope that these core samples will reveal answers to some of the region’s deepest geological mysteries. However, the process was not always easy. The rover encountered several painful moments while collecting these cores. The first specimen collected by Perseverance, for example, disintegrated into dust when it was assembled in August, hampering scientists back to Earth who were waiting for a sample tube tube filled with rock, but instead found air. “It was completely strange because the engineers who tested it back on Earth on all kinds of rocks had never seen this behavior,” said Briony Horgan, a planetary scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. In December, the rover faced a different challenge. While collecting a sample from a rock named Issole, pieces of rock fell into the rover’s sample collection carousel. Engineers back to Earth worked with the life-size replica of the rover back to Earth to address the problem. The rover is now heading to its original destination – a dried-up river delta where researchers hope to find evidence of ancient life – to collect the most important core specimens ever collected in another world. Delta bluesPerseverance was originally scheduled to head straight for the delta, but the trail from where it landed, a spot named after Octavia E. Butler, in the delta was blocked by a series of dunes. After a year-long hike to explore locations just south of the crater, it’s finally time to explore the top of Mars geology. The rover will reach its destination in April. Horgan and her colleagues believe the delta, estimated to be about 3.6-3.8 million years old, could offer the best opportunity to search for ancient life places – the ultimate goal of the mission. “There, on Earth, you see a lot of organic material being washed up in the lake or even in the ocean, and deposited and mixed with the mud,” says Horgan. “What we are trying to find is this concentrated, organic material that we can use to help reconstruct what ancient life on Mars might have looked like.” Search and return Sending a persistent mission to the surface of Mars to collect samples was only the first of many steps. The ultimate goal of this interplanetary relay is to bring samples of Mars rocks to Earth for the first time. “The more we learn about other parts of our solar system, the more we learn about our own planet,” says Bell. These samples could, for example, shed light on the evolution of Mars’ climate from hot and humid to cool and dry, and then teach us about the geological features of the planet. And, of course, they could answer our questions about whether there could be life there. NASA and the European Space Agency are working together to develop a sophisticated system that will be launched to Mars in the mid to late 2020s. a return orbital vehicle. Once the spacecraft reaches the surface of Mars safely, the rover will begin searching for discarded Perseverance sample tubes. The fetch rover will find these specimens and, like a cosmic toy with pick-up sticks, grab them, store them and then return them to the landing craft. The lander will place them in a small pod inside the launch vehicle to launch a little later. A little later, this pod will be launched from the surface of Mars using a cold launch. The organization has used industry giant Northrop Grumman to develop the climbing vehicle which, according to Scientific American, will be powered by an aluminum-based fuel. Another bonus? Not only would this mission represent the first time specimens return to Earth from the Red Planet, but it would also mark the first time a vehicle has been launched from the surface of another planet.

More than a year ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover soared through the Martian atmosphere and crashed into the Red Planet.

“We closed our eyes in Florida and opened them to another planet,” said Jim Bell, chief rover camera researcher at Mastcam-Z. and a researcher at Arizona State University, he told Popular Mechanics.

Since then, the rover and its accompanying rotor, the Ingenuity, have explored the images and sounds of the Red Planet and even conducted an experiment to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide.

Overall, the rover’s main mission to explore the geology of Mars was successful. It has zippers around the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater, taking photos, collecting samples and providing an ever-expanding view of Mars’ ancient past. Next year, the rover is scheduled to explore the crater’s most important feature.

Cut to the core

From Perseverance started the sampling campaign last August, it collected 43 pencil-sized rock samples – from olivine-rich volcanic rock to brittle sedimentary rock – from various locations within the crater. The researchers hope that these key samples will reveal answers to some of the region’s deepest geological mysteries.

However, the process was not always easy.

The rover encountered several painful moments while collecting these cores. The first sample of Persistence collected, for example, dissolved in powder when assembled in August, the scientists fell back to Earth, waiting for a sample tube tube filled with rock, but instead found air.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS

Debris hidden in the perseverance sample collection carousel. After shaking the rover (literally), the team managed to safely clear the debris.

“It was completely strange because the engineers who tested it back on Earth on all kinds of rocks had never seen this behavior,” said Briony Horgan, a planetary scientist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

In December, the rover faced a different challenge. When you collect a sample from a rock called Issole, pieces of rock fell into the rover sample collection carousel. Engineers back to Earth worked with the life-size replica of the rover back to Earth to address the problem.

The rover is now heading to its original destination – a dried-up river delta where researchers hope to find evidence of ancient life – to collect the most important core specimens ever collected in another world.

Delta Blues

Perseverance was originally planned to head straight for the delta, but the trail from the site where it landed, a spot named after Octavia E. Butler, in the delta was blocked by a series of dunes. After a year-long hike to explore locations just south of the crater, it’s finally time to explore the top of Mars geology. The rover should reach its destination in April.

Horgan and her colleagues believe the delta, estimated to be about 3.6-3.8 million years old, could offer the best opportunity to search for ancient sites – the mission’s ultimate goal.

nasa persistence rover

NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / JHU-APL

“There, on Earth, you see a lot of organic material being washed up in the lake or even in the ocean and deposited and mixed with the mud,” says Horgan. “What we are trying to find is this concentrated, organic material that we can use to help reconstruct what ancient life on Mars might have looked like.”

Search and come back

The persistence mission to the surface of Mars to collect the samples was only the first of many steps. The ultimate goal of this interplanetary relay is to bring samples of Mars rocks to Earth for the first time.

“The more we learn about other parts of our solar system, the more we learn about our own planet,” says Bell. These samples could, for example, shed light on the evolution of Mars’ climate from hot and humid to cool and dry, and then teach us about the geological features of the planet. And, of course, they could answer our questions about whether there could be life there.

NASA and the European Space Agency are working together to develop a sophisticated system that will be launched to Mars in the mid to late 2020s. a return orbital vehicle.

Once the spacecraft reaches the surface of Mars safely, the rover will begin searching for discarded Perseverance sample tubes. The fetch rover will find these specimens and, like a cosmic toy with pick-up sticks, grab them, store them and then return them to the landing craft. The lander will place them in a small pod inside the launch vehicle to launch a little later.

A little later, this pod will be launched from the surface of Mars using a cold launch. The service used industry giant Northrop Grumman to develop the climbing vehicle which, According to Scientific Americanwill run on aluminum-based fuel.

Another bonus? Not only would this mission represent the first time specimens return to Earth from the Red Planet, but it would also mark the first time a vehicle has been launched from the surface of another planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover is hunting for ancient life Source link NASA’s Perseverance rover is hunting for ancient life

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