Alien rock destined for Earth

September 7, 2021

Perseverance has done it! After a failed attempt last month, NASA's Mars rover has collected its very first sample of Martian rock.

The sample comes from a flat, briefcase-sized rock named Rochette that resides in a 900-metre long ridgeline the team has named Artuby.

This is Rochette, the rock from which Perseverance captured its first Martian sample. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This area is believed to contain some of the most ancient rocks in the area, giving scientists a window back through time to an early Mars in which water flowed on its surface.

The sample has been sealed inside a titanium tube, one of 43 carried with Perseverance to the Red Planet.

Future missions will pick up these tubes and rocket them back to Earth, allowing scientists to use all of the tools we have to learn more about the samples they've collected.

Perseverance will use up to eight of its tubes at Artuby before moving on to the Jezero delta, where water flowed freely eons ago.

These samples may be the key to proving if life has ever existed outside of Earth.

Sources and further reading:

NASA's Perseverance Rover Collects First Mars Rock Sample at NASA

NASA's Perseverance Rover Successfully Cores Its First Rock at NASA

Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover at NASA

Featured Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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