Mars Rover Perseverance Appears to Have Grabbed Its First Rock Sample | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Mars Rover Perseverance Appears to Have Grabbed Its First Rock Sample

The Perseverance rover had a bit of a false start to its science campaign on Mars last month, when it appeared to have successfully collected a rock only to find its sampling tube empty. In its second coring attempt, NASA directed the rover to a different patch of rock, and images received on Earth today suggest the rover was able to core and secure a Martian rock sample from that second site. Years from now, another mission may pick up Perseverance’s samples and carry them to Earth, where scientists will be able to inspect the Martian material up close.

NASA has yet to confirm that the rover’s extraction was a success, and until they do, there’ll be a bit of uncertainty. Early on September 2, the rover’s social media team confirmed that the rock target had been successfully drilled, posting an image of the rock with a marvelous hole in the middle of it. But that’s no guarantee on its own—a similar image of a hole in the ground indicated that the first rock sample site had been cored, but no rock had actually been retained by the rover. NASA concluded that the first sample likely crumbled to dust, surprising mission scientists who expected the rock to behave differently.