1 year after launch, NASA's Perseverance rover prepares to collect 1st sample on Mars - Space.com
Jul 30, 2021 1 min, 11 secs

It's been quite an eventful year for NASA's Perseverance rover.

In photos: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover mission to the Red Planet.

That mission features two main tasks: hunting for signs of ancient life in Jezero, which hosted a lake and river delta long ago, and collecting and caching dozens of samples. .

The pristine Mars material that Perseverance packs away will be brought to Earth by a joint NASA-European Space Agency campaign, perhaps as early as 2031.

The rover is scouting out targets in a geologically interesting part of Jezero that the mission team calls "Crater Floor Fractured Rough.".

Perseverance will study its chosen target in detail with a variety of instruments before actually collecting material, in a multistep process that will take about 11 days from start to finish. .

"Not every sample Perseverance is collecting will be done in the quest for ancient life, and we don’t expect this first sample to provide definitive proof one way or the other," Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement last week. .

"While the rocks located in this geologic unit are not great time capsules for organics, we believe they have been around since the formation of Jezero Crater and incredibly valuable to fill gaps in our geologic understanding of this region — things we’ll desperately need to know if we find life once existed on Mars," Farley said!

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