The Mars rover “Perseverance” began drilling on the surface of the Red Planet. “The sampling process has begun,” NASA employee Thomas Zurbuchen said yesterday. The US space agency released footage showing a small hill with a hole in the middle next to the rover.
The well is the first step in the sampling process which is expected to take about eleven days. The goal is to search for signs of ancient microbial life that may have been preserved in ancient lake debris. Scientists also hope to gain a better understanding of the geological conditions on Mars.
Perseverance left Florida a little over a year ago and landed at Jezero Crater on Mars in February. Scientists believe that there was a deep lake there about 3.5 billion years ago, which emptied and refilled several times over time and provided suitable conditions for organic life. It will be years before scientists can analyze the samples themselves: NASA is not planning a mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) to collect samples and return them to Earth until 2030.
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