NASA’s Perseverance rover ‘came up empty’ on first drilling attempt

ANU Astrophysicist and Cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker says the NASA Perseverance rover “came up empty” on its first drilling attempt on Mars.

“Mars Perseverance’s big goal is to dig down and … to sample rocks, to scoop those rocks, and to analyse it on board, and then save it for a return mission back to Earth,” he told Sky News Australia.

Dr Tucker said what the operators of the rover found was it had drilled into “almost sand-like ground” and the rover was not able to pick up any samples.

“This thing is obviously quite complex to be operating remotely on Mars with the communication delays they can’t do it in real-time so in order for it all to work flawlessly except the land they chose was a bit of a disappointment,” he said.

“It was always supposed to have multiple samples and go multiple places so they would just have to venture to their second one.”