NASA’s persistent rover has finally discovered a piece of Mars
It’s a lucky turnaround since early August, when Perseverance made its first attempt to obtain a sample but scientists found that none actually ended up in the collection tube. Unfortunately, the drilling mechanism ground the brittle rock into powder, which again fell to the ground near the drill hole. The Rochette was chosen in part because the rocks there were considered stiffer and more likely to fall into the tube.
Why is it such a big deal: Sample collection is one of the prominent objectives of the mission. Perseverance is equipped with 43 collection tubes, and NASA hopes to fill them all with rock and soil samples from Mars to bring them back to Earth one day. The 28-mile-long Jezero crater is believed to be the site of a former river delta. If Mars was habitable during its wet age billions of years ago, this is one of the best sites for fossilized life that has found a home. Although persistence is armed with tools that tell us a lot about what’s in Jezero, your best chance of actually searching for biometric fingerprints and traces of microbial life is in a lab on Earth.