Mars rover ready to collect samples destined for Earth

Mars rover ready to collect samples destined for Earth

NASA’s Perseverance rover is getting ready to collects its first rock samples on Mars, which should eventually make their way back to Earth. Eyeing the floor of an ancient lakebed, Perseverance is traveling to a spot south of where it initially landed in February to begin the 11-day sampling process, NASA announced Wednesday. The rocks targeted are described as pale, flat paver stones, which NASA hopes will give a good baseline idea of what the broader region is like geologically.

The kind of flat, pale Martian rocks that Perseverance will sample can be seen in this image.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Before the actual sampling begins, Perseverance will use scientific instruments in its 7-foot arm to examine the makeup of the rocks. At the moment, NASA is unsure whether the rocks are volcanic or sedimentary. Figuring that out before sampling will give context to the samples collected, Perseverance

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