Perseverance mission collects first samples on Mars
- Recently, the Perseverance Mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has collected the first samples on Mars.
- The Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. It is a long-term effort for robotic exploration of Mars.
Perseverance has the following objectives:
- Perseverance is a highly advanced, expensive and sophisticated mobile laboratory sent to Mars to search for signs of microbial life on Mars,
- To prepare for future human explorations and collect samples of Martian rock and regolith (rock and soil particles) to bring back to Earth.
- Recently, the Perseverance rover dropped a titanium tube filled with collected rock samples onto the surface of Mars.
- Igneous rock samples were collected from Jezero Crater on Mars. This crater is also called South Sitah.
- These samples are being kept at a place called ‘Three Forks’. This is the first specimen collection depot of its kind established anywhere in the world.
- This depot will serve as a backup. If Perseverance is not successful in sending these samples to Earth, then with the help of this backup, NASA will bring them to Earth through a future mission.
Significance of Mars
Search for Life: Evidence shows that Mars was once covered with water. Also, it was hotter and denser.
All these features indicate the possibility of a habitable environment.
Other missions to Mars are:
Mangalyaan India); Hope (UAE); Tianwen – 1 (China); Mars Express and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (European Space Agency); Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN, Curiosity Rover (NASA) etc.
Source – NASA