NASA’s Perseverance fails in its first attempt to collect rocks on Mars

15:34, 07 August 2021
NASA’s Perseverance fails in its first attempt to collect rocks on Mars Photo:

Analysts are examining the data received.

The Perseverance rover did not manage to collect samples of Martian rocks or dirt, NASA representatives have announced. It was the first attempt of the rover.

Perseverance surface mission manager Jessica Samuels has said that the process of getting samples is entirely autonomous and that the news was learnt only after having measured the volume of the sample, which turned out to be empty.

According to the report, the rover’s drill was functioning appropriately and the process of collecting samples had no glitches either.

The space agency has made a post on Twitter explaining that getting no samples from a correctly-drilled hole was a problem the team has not faced during tests on Earth.

Perseverance project manager Jennifer Trosper has indicated that the problem is not likely to be linked with the rover’s software or hardware malfunction, adding that the failure is probably due to an unanticipated rock reaction.

The Curiosity rover faced similar problems several years ago. While drilling rocks the rover discovered that they were considerably tougher than expected.

NASA officials have stated that the team was working on the case and the right solution will be found. In the days to come the squad will scrutinize the data received and perform some extra diagnostics to find the cause.

They have added that this is not a major failure since the rover has 43 sampling tubes in total. It is supposed to fill at least 20 tubes with the substance dug from the holes it bores with its 7-ft arm.

The Perseverance mission cost almost $3 bln. Its two essential missions are to detect any signs of life on the planet and bring some Martian samples to Earth.