back to article NASA's Perseverance rover nabs two Martian rock samples for scientists on Earth to study one day

NASA scientists can breathe a sigh of relief now that Perseverance has successfully collected not one but two Martian rock specimens, after its first attempt to obtain and store a sample failed. The plucky rover was sent to the Jezero crater to hunt for signs that Mars was once inhabited by microbes. Scientists believe their …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge


    Perseverance and Ingenuity continue to amaze me. But so does so much of what NASA does. I admit it, I'm a space geek.

  2. Twanky

    Do the sample tubes have 'grab' handles?

    Although I think the mission is great science and is very much the Sort Of Thing humanity should be doing I don't quite understand why this mission drills the samples and 'bottles' them and a later mission will collect them. Sure, we (humanity) don't yet have the ability to bring things back from Mars but when we do have that ability won't it be easier to go with a drill capable of getting fresh samples?

    I hope I'm still ticking over when we do get them back.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      I expect that the weight constraints of landing something on Mars capable of lift-off and returning to Earth orbit means that including a rover element as well, that can trundle out collecting its own samples means that it is more efficient to separate the missions into one that collects and one that returns the samples.

      The other issue is that landing a rocket on mars with the ability to return involves a canister of rocket fuel, with the potential for rapid disassembly were anything to go wrong. In that event it would be far better to lose merely the return mission than the whole analyse and collect mission too.

      I too hope I'm still around when the samples are returned.

      On another matter, I hope I'm still around in 2037 when Hubble or something else observes a supernova again:

      Gravitational lensing means we have got lots of warning of a delayed view.

  3. werdsmith Silver badge

    These long cylinders of rock, I’m hoping they will have the word “MARS” all the way through, and a little black and white Mars scenery photo half way along the side.

    1. Twanky

      Ah yes, but what will they Taste like? Peppermint? Or those appalling tutti-fruitti monstrosities?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Probably tastes just like the rock I got at the Jurassic Coast back in the 1970s. This ammonite tastes like dried out ancient mudstone.

  4. druck Silver badge

    Finding them again

    ...managed to bottle up two samples this time. NASA has named them Montdenier and Montagnac. Although boffins on Earth won’t get their hands on them for many years...

    I'm curious about how they are going to find the samples tubes again. With quite a few years before the collection mission arrives, they will probably be covered by a layer of dust by the Martian winds, which often result in a global dust storms. That will probably also obliterate the rovers tacks too. Mars doesn't have a GPS system, so the only way I can think of is very careful matching of photographs to find the location, and a lot of scrabbling around with the robot arm.

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Finding them again

      I think that Persey will keep them all on board and the collection mission will be a rendezvous. So just a location beacon should be adequate.

      (Of course that assumes that the martian police don't step in and do a 'stop and search', and confiscate them first.)

  5. ColonelClaw

    Having recently played through Hideo Kojima's magnum opus Metal Gear Solid V - The Phantom Pain, this article has got me thinking, could some version of the Fulton Extraction System be used on future Mars missions?

  6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Mars' geologic history

    Areologic, shirley?

  7. jake Silver badge

    "Areologic Shirley"

    Well known lead singer of the Belter Blues band "Vesta's Vagabonds".

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