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Still Waters

Signs of life on Mars? Perseverance rover begins the hunt

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Still Waters

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has begun its search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet. Flexing its 7-foot (2-meter) mechanical arm, the rover is testing the sensitive detectors it carries, capturing their first science readings. Along with analyzing rocks using X-rays and ultraviolet light, the six-wheeled scientist will zoom in for closeups of tiny segments of rock surfaces that might show evidence of past microbial activity.

https://phys.org/news/2021-07-life-mars-perseverance-rover.html

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Still Waters

Mars rover comes up empty in 1st try at getting rock sample

NASA's newest Mars rover came up empty Friday in its first attempt to pick up a rock sample to eventually be brought back to Earth.

The rover Perseverance drilled into the floor of the planet's Jezero Crater to extract a finger-sized sample from slabs of flat rocks. The drill seemed to work as intended, but it appeared no rock made it into the sample tube, the agency said Friday.

Engineers were working to figure out what happened.

https://phys.org/news/2021-08-mars-rover-1st-sample.html

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Still Waters

NASA blames Mars rover sampling fiasco on bad, powdery rock

The Perseverance rover came up empty after attempting to collect its first core sample on the red planet for eventual return to Earth. Data beamed back last Friday showed that the rover drilled to the proper depth of nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters), and pictures of the borehole looked good. But it quickly became clear the sample tube was empty.

Since then, engineers have determined the rock was not strong enough to produce a core sample, and the small, powdery fragments remained in the hole or ended up in the cuttings pile—or both. So the rover is moving on to the next sampling site in its quest for signs of ancient Martian life; it should arrive there by early next month.

https://phys.org/news/2021-08-nasa-blames-mars-rover-sampling.html

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