Endurance celebrates a thousand days on Mars


Mission accomplished! NASA rover Perseverance it did its job and did what it was designed to do: explore Crater lake on Mars and sample material in search of past life forms. The NASA team made the announcement on exactly the 1,000th Martian day, or sol (equal to 24 hours and 37 minutes of an Earth day) of the mission during the conference.American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, according to which, in fact, Perseverance has achieved one of its main goals, although many more challenges lie ahead. “It’s a really incredible achievement and we’ve accomplished an incredible amount Science“, said NASA’s Lori Glaze. “That doesn’t mean the Perseverance is going to shut down its engines.

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Endurance mission

He left in July 2020 along with his small helicopter IngenuityPerseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. From then on, it began its work: collecting rock and regolith samples by exploring an ancient river delta that preserves evidence of a lake that filled billions of years ago Crater lake45 kilometers wide and considered by experts to be a great place to look for potential traces of organic molecules and microbial life. After a failed first attempt, Perseverance succeeded in September 2021 v take a sample of the stone thanks to a sophisticated drill and a 2-meter articulated robotic arm, which, as expected, allowed the collection of a fragment of material, which was then placed in a metal tube and preserved waiting to be brought back to Earth.

Ancient lake

From there, a series of successes: he took many more rock samples (23 in total) and confirmed the presence of a ancient lake. “The lake is a potentially habitable environment, and the rocks in the delta are a great environment for burying signs of ancient life, such as fossils in the geologic record,” explained Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “After a thorough survey, we reconstructed geological history of the cratertracking the lake and river phase from start to finish’. Perseverance also discovered traces of organic molecules, including fine-grained silica (a material known to preserve fossils on Earth) and phosphate (associated with life as we know it). Several hypotheses have been put forward about their origin, but we will have to wait for that 2030 for a closer examination: one of the challenges that must now be faced is how to bring the samples collected by Perseverance back to Earth so that they can be studied in the laboratory.


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