NASA's Perseverance rover is currently exploring the surface of Mars, collecting samples that will eventually be sent back to Earth.
Perseverance, accompanied by its scout helicopter named Ingenuity, are scouring the surface of the Red Planet for viable locations to sample, and so far, the rover has collected fourteen samples that are stored within the vehicle. On October 5, NASA announced that Perseverance successfully collected its thirteenth sample, which was described as "fine-grained". Notably, NASA stated that it planned on collecting an additional sample from the same area.
On October 12, NASA took to the Perseverance Twitter account, where it announced that the fourteenth sample had been collected, but the rover encountered an issue when attempting to seal and store it. NASA explained that the rover was unable to seal the sample tube, but the sample itself remained safe within Perseverance's caching assembly. NASA added that Perseverance's team was currently working on a fix for this issue, and as of October 15, there hasn't been an update.
Erin Gibbons, NASA scientist and a member of Perseverance's team, took to her own Twitter account and said that mining rocks is quite difficult when the drill is located 100 million kilometers away, adding that NASA teams are in the process of testing various solutions so the seal can be completed.
For those wondering, Perseverance has been collecting samples on Mars since September 2021, with the rover landing on the surface back in February 2021. As previously mentioned, the samples that Perseverance collects will eventually be transported back to Earth for in-depth analysis by scientists. As you can probably imagine, the analyzing instruments on Earth are much more advanced than the ones equipped to Perseverance, hence the decision to get Martian samples back to Earth. NASA expects the samples to arrive back on Earth as early as 2033.
In other science news, a team of researchers has made a groundbreaking discovery by successfully teaching a group of 800,000 brain cells within a petri dish to play a classic video game. The research may pave the way forward for greater scientific achievements in a completely new field.