An animated GIF depicts the Martian surface below the Perseverance rover, showing the results of the Jan. 15, 2022, percussive drill test to clear cored-rock fragments from one of the rover’s sample tubes.

January 21, 2022

The robotic arm on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its percussive drill to eject fragments of cored rock from a sample tube on Jan. 15, 2022, the 322nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. One of the rover’s hazard cameras (hazcam) obtained same-day, before-and-after images of the surface below the rover to help better understand the results of this operation.

There are two versions of the image: Figure 1 shows the ground below Perseverance prior to the use of the rover’s percussive drill on Jan. 15. Figure 2 shows the same ground later that same day, after the percussive drill was employed. In this second image, at least eight new pieces of rock fragments can be seen.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance:




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