On the Eve of Perseverance’s First Sample
NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired the left image using its onboard Right Navigation Camera (Navcam). The right image was acquired using its onboard SHERLOC WATSON camera. Both images were taken on Aug. 2, 2021 (Sol 160). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Left image | Right image

A few sols ago Perseverance performed the first science abrasion on the target Guillaumes. All reveled in the engineering success but what was revealed below the surface of the rock after the dust was cleared away surprised us. The science team has been intrigued and excited as they study this patch – what more could we as engineers have hoped for!

So now we are poised to take the first sample nearby this abraded patch – the first of about 35 rock samples that we hope will be brought back to Earth by future missions. I am the Sampling & Caching Chief Engineer and I have been thinking about and preparing for this day for nearly 8 years now but today it feels like just yesterday we were figuring out the design architecture for Sampling & Caching that we would take forward into the detailed design process. In reality it was a long, intense, challenging, and exhilarating road that resulted in the sophisticated robotic hardware that is Perseverance. Traveling that tough road together molded our partnership with the science team and formed the amazing group of people that are able to operate this marvelous machine on a daily basis in the service of science. The team never ceases to amaze me. They are brilliant and hardworking, dedicated to excellence, and above all joyful to be a part of this historic mission. I am so proud to be a part of this team.

Today we are hard at work planning for the first sample acquisition and end-to-end processing resulting in a sample enclosed in its hermetically sealed tube. Later today the commands to Perseverance will be sent and the waiting begins.  The data will begin to trickle in during the middle of the night and the team will be up anxiously awaiting the first bits of information on how things have gone up to that point. The waiting will extend well into tomorrow until the final bits are down.

I do not wait alone and that comforts me…stay tuned and we will give you an update tomorrow afternoon.

About This Blog

These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars 2020 mission team members who love to share what Perseverance is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these blogs are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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  • Iona Brockie
    Sampling Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Denise Buckner
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Alyssa Deardorff
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Kenneth Farley
    Project Scientist, Caltech
    Pasadena, CA
  • Brad Garczynski
    Student Collaborator, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Louise Jandura
    Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Lydia Kivrak
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Rachel Kronyak
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Pegah Pashai
    Vehicle Systems Engineer Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Jennifer Trosper
    Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Roger Wiens
    Principal Investigator, SuperCam / Co-Investigator, SHERLOC instrument, LANL
    Los Alamos, NM

Tools on the Perseverance Rover+

The Perseverance rover has tools to study the history of its landing site, seek signs of ancient life, collect rock and soil samples, and help prepare for human exploration of Mars. The rover carries:


Where is the Rover?

Image of a rover pin-point at Perseverance's location on Mars, Jezero Crater

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