CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) â€” NASAâ€™s newest Mars rover has successfully collected its first rock sample for return to Earth, after last monthâ€™s attempt came up empty.
The Perseverance roverâ€™s chief engineer, Adam Stelzner, called it a perfect core sample.
â€œIâ€™ve never been more happy to see a hole in a rock,â€ he tweeted Thursday.
A month ago, Perseverance drilled into much softer rock, and the sample crumbled and didnâ€™t get inside the titanium tube. The rover drove a half-mile to a better sampling spot to try again. Team members analyzed data and pictures before declaring success.
Perseverance arrived in February at Marsâ€™ Jezero Crater â€” believed to be the home of a lush lakebed and river delta billions of years ago â€” in search of rocks that might hold evidence of ancient life. NASA plans to launch more spacecraft to retrieve the samples collected by Perseverance; engineers are hoping to return as many as three dozen samples in about a decade.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Instituteâ€™s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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