NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter have marked the first anniversary since their launch into outer space.
The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter are part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Mars 2020 Exploration Program that launched on July 30, 2020. The launch site was the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter touched down inside Mars' Jezero Crater last February 18.
NASA's Perseverance Rover to Collect 1st Mars Sample
As NASA's Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter mark their first anniversary since launch, Perseverance is preparing to begin collecting its first sample on Mars.
According to Space, the Perseverance rover is "scouting out targets in a geologically interesting part of Jezero that the mission team calls 'Crater Floor Fractured Rough."
The Perseverance rover will then use its different instruments to study the target it chooses. Once the study is completed, it is only then that the Perseverance rover will collect samples.
According to the report by Space, the whole process will take 11 days to complete.
Collecting samples on Mars is one of the main tasks of the Perseverance rover. Its other main task is to look for signs of life in the Jezero Crater. It was previously reported that Mars' Jezero Crater once had a lake and river delta.
Before gearing up to begin its sample collecting, the Perseverance rover was previously involved in "Ingenuity-shephering work."
What Will Happen to the Samples the Perseverance Collects?
The Mars samples that will be collected by the Perseverance rover will eventually be brought back to Earth thanks to a joint campaign by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). This can take place in 2031.
Scientists will then use the samples to find answers, especially those that deal with questions about life on Mars. The samples will also be used to learn more about the history and evolution of Mars.
Ingenuity Helicopter Completes 10 Mars Flights
For its part, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter has completed 10 Mars flights since it landed on the Red Planet. Its first flight happened in April.
The Ingenuity helicopter was initially only supposed to have four flights, but NASA was so delighted with its performance that its mission was extended by the U.S. space agency.
The Ingenuity helicopter's recently-completed tenth flight also marked the first mile the helicopter has flown on Mars. According to an Instagram post by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ingenuity's first mile is a "new aerial record."
Prior to the latest flight, the Ingenuity's ninth flight saw the helicopter reaching an area called the Seitah Region. The Ingenuity helicopter then took over for the Perseverance rover since it was discovered that the Seitah Region was too treacherous for the rover.
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Written by Isabella James