Once this is done, the team can collect more detailed chemical and mineral information using other tools on the robotic arm called PIXL (Planetary X-ray Stone Chemistry Tool) and SHERLOC (Scan for Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals).
“The more rocks I look, the more I learn,” Farley said. The more the team learns, the better ultimately, to collect samples using the drill on the robotic arm. The best samples will be stored in special tubes and collected on the surface of Mars.
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), are expected to send spacecraft to Mars to retrieve those sealed samples and bring them to Earth. There she can analyze in depth, focusing on astrobiology and searching for traces of ancient microbial life.
The perseverance mission is part of NASA’s “Moon to Mars” research program, in which a base on the moon will serve as a springboard for human exploration of the red planet. Artemis’ missions to the moon are also part of this.
This article is based on a press release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
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