NASA’s Perseverance rover is about to collect its first Martian rock sample

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After about five months settling into its new home on the Red Planet, NASA’s Perseverance rover is about to collect its first-ever sample of Martian rock in one of the most intricate long-distance science projects ever conducted, according to a NASA statement.

Over the next two weeks, Perseverance, or Percy as it’s sometimes called — a rhinoceros-size rover that landed on Mars on Feb. 18 — is expected to locate a pair of ancient, identical rocks on the dusty floor of Jezero Crater, then perform in-situ experiments on one of them before collecting a core sample of the other. This second sample will be stored aboard Perseverance in a hermetically sealed container until future missions can return the Martian rock safely to Earth, NASA said.

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