Watch live Friday: NASA talks Perseverance rover’s 1st Mars sample collection success at 12 pm ET

NASA will hold a news conference on Friday (Sept. 10) to provide an update on its Mars rover Perseverance, which has now successfully collected two samples of Martian rock.

Perseverance, which arrived on Mars in February, collected its second sample of the Red Planet on Wednesday (Sept. 8) after drilling into a rock dubbed “Rochette.” The second sample came just four days after Perseverance snagged its first sample, which came from the same rock. 

NASA officials discuss the samples in a news conference beginning at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT), and you can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of NASA.

NASA's Perseverance rover has collected two drilled-out samples from this Red Planet rock, which the mission team dubbed

NASA’s Perseverance rover has collected two drilled-out samples from this Red Planet rock, which the mission team dubbed “Rochette.” (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From NASA:

NASA will hold a virtual media briefing Friday, Sept. 10, at noon EDT to provide an update on the agency’s Perseverance Mars rover, which recently completed its first successful rock sampling.

The event will be livestreamed on NASA Television, the NASA app, the agency’s website, and multiple agency social media platforms.

The briefing will also discuss what the rover’s instruments have learned about the rock from which the sample was taken, and implications for a future sample retrieval mission. Through the Mars Sample Return campaign, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are planning a series of future missions to return the rover’s sample tubes to Earth for closer study. 

Briefing participants include:

  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
  • Jessica Samuels, Perseverance surface mission manager, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
  • Matt Robinson, Perseverance strategic sampling operations team chief, JPL.
  • Katie Stack Morgan, Perseverance deputy project scientist, JPL.
  • Yulia Goreva, Perseverance return sample investigation scientist, JPL.
  • Meenakshi Wadhwa, Mars sample return principal scientist, JPL and Arizona State University.

To participate in the briefing by telephone, reporters must provide their name and affiliation by 10 a.m. EDT on Friday, Sept. 10, to Rexana Vizza at rexana.v.vizza@jpl.nasa.gov.

Members of the media and the public may also ask questions on social media during the briefing using #AskNASA.

Perseverance landed in Jezero Crater Feb. 18, and the rover team kicked off the science phase of its mission June 1. The rover made a first attempt to collect a sample in early August, but the rock crumbled during the process of drilling and coring.

For its second attempt, the rover drove to a different location where the team selected a rock that the Perseverance team nicknamed “Rochette.” The sample collection process began Sept. 1, and Rochette held up better.

Over the past week, scientists have been using Perseverance’s instruments to analyze the rock from which the sample was taken. The sample itself would be examined back on Earth in ways that are not possible on the Martian surface, including with instruments far too large to take to Mars.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect Perseverance’s sealed samples from the surface and bring them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and collect and cache the first samples of Martian rock and regolith.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL leads the Perseverance mission and is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California.


‘ISS Live!’ Tune in to the space station

Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the “ISS Live” broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

From NASA:

“Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During ‘loss of signal’ periods, viewers will see a blue screen.

“Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.” 

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Update for 3:32 a.m. ET: Saturday’s planned launch of the SpaceX Dragon CRS-23 mission has been scrubbed due to weather. The next available launch opportunity is on Sunday (Aug. 29) at 3:14 a.m. EDT (0714 GMT). Read the full story. 

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity’s ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Kim Hickock as our Reference Editor and Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor. 

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