The first sample of Martian rocks… How will NASA bring it...

The first sample of Martian rocks… How will NASA bring it...
The first sample of Martian rocks… How will NASA bring it...

NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft has collected the first of many mineral samples that the administration hopes to extract from the surface of the Red Planet for analysis on Earth.

Instruments attached to the rover and controlled by mission specialists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles extracted a sample slightly thicker than a pencil from the bottom of an ancient lake on Mars and placed it in a titanium sample tube inside Perseverance. And closed it tightly.

NASA chief and former astronaut Bill Nelson praised the move, describing it as a “historic achievement.”

NASA plans to collect up to 43 mineral samples over the next few months from the bottom of Jezero crater, a vast basin where scientists believe water was flowing and that microbes may have lived there billions of years ago.

Collecting mineral samples is an essential part of the $2.7 billion Perseverance project. Two future Mars missions, one for NASA and the other for the European Space Agency, are scheduled to transport these samples to Earth within the next 10 years, where astrobiologists will examine them for indications of fossils of microorganisms.

Fossils like these will be the first irrefutable evidence that any form of life will ever exist outside Earth.

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