NASA’s newest Mars rover collected ‘perfect core sample’ to return to Earth

NASA’s newest Mars rover Perseverance successfully collected its first rock sample for return to Earth, after its attempt last month came up empty.

The rover's chief engineer, Adam Steltzner, called it a perfect core sample.

"I’ve never been more happy to see a hole in a rock," he tweeted on Thursday.

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The first rock sample collected by NASA rover Perseverance.

A month ago, Perseverance drilled into much softer rock, and the sample crumbled and didn't get inside the titanium tube.

The rover drove a half-mile to a better sampling spot to try again. Team members analysed data and pictures before declaring success.

Perseverance arrived in February at Mars' Jezero Crater — believed to be the home of a lush lakebed and river delta billions of years ago — in search of rocks that might hold evidence of ancient life.

Perseverance arrived in February at Mars' Jezero Crater to look for rocks that might hold evidence of ancient life.

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NASA plans to launch more spacecraft to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance. Engineers hope to return as many as three dozen samples in about a decade.

"Be patient, little sample, your journey is about to begin," Steltzner said.

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