NASA's Perseverance rover had quite a good year since its launch on July 30, 2020, especially after landing on the Martian surface inside the 28-mile-wide Jezero crater on February 18.
It deployed the first-ever helicopter on Mars called the Ingenuity, which helped in gathering information about Mars, and just finished its 10th flight on the Raised Ridges to mark a 1-mile journey on the Red Planet.
Now, they move to the next phase of the Mars Mission 2020 by collecting Martian rock samples. Last week, Science Times reported that the rock samples collected will be sent to Earth on future NASA-ESA missions by the 2030s.
Perseverance Rover's First Martian Rock Sampling Location
According to Space.com, Perseverance just wrapped up its Ingenuity-shepherding task whose mission involves hunting for life on Jezero and collecting and caching dozens of samples.
Now, the rover is preparing to collect its first Martian rock samples after scouting targets in a geologically interesting area in the crater called "Crater Floor Fractured Rough."
The Perseverance rover team in NASA recently announced via Twitter post the first rock sampling location. The caption says that the area in the photo will be the Perseverance rover's "office" in the next week or two to collect rock samples.
The team studied its chosen target for the coming Martian rock sampling mission in detail, using different instruments before the actual collecting process. It is estimated that the Martian rock sampling mission will take at least 11 days from start to finish.
"Not every sample Perseverance is collecting will be done in the quest for ancient life, and we don't expect this first sample to provide definitive proof one way or the other," Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley, from CalTech, said last week.
He added that NASA thinks that the rocks that will be collected were already around since the formation of the Jezero Crater. For that, they hope these rocks will give valuable insights into the geological process that led to the current formation of the Martian crater. They also hope that it would tell whether Jezero Crater in Mars once hosted life.
To celebrate the first anniversary of the Perseverance rover on Mars, they prepared spaceflight fireworks tonight at 5 pm (EDT). If all goes to plan, Europe's Ariane 5 rocket will launch two communication satellites by that time as well.
Perseverance Rover's Timeline Summary
The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover landed on the Red Planet on July 30, 2020. NASA has outlined the phases of the Mars 2020 mission on their website.
It started with the preparation for the mission that includes pre-project planning, selection of science instruments, landing site selection, assembly and testing of the rover, and delivering it to Cape Canaveral. The preparation was then followed by the launch when it was lift-off to space from Earth.
They also noted the voyage and nearing of Perseverance rover to the Red Planet. Its entry, descent, and landing was a momentous event for the mission as it marks the beginning of the journey in exploring Mars.
Soon after it landed, engineers conducted tests to ensure that the rover is in a safe state before starting its formal surface operations, which is what the rover is currently doing. Part of the surface missions is collecting Martian rock samples to be sent on the 2030s mission of NASA and ESA.
Check out more news and information on Perseverance Rover in Science Times.