October 2, 2023

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NASA’s Perseverance rover collects sand

This GIF shows NASA

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This GIF shows NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance collecting two regolith samples — broken rock and dust — with a regolith sampler at the end of its robotic arm. Samples were collected on December 2 and 6, 2022, and Mars Days 634 and 639, or the mission’s sols. The images were captured by one of the rover’s forward hazard cameras.

One of the two regolith samples will be considered to be deposited on Mars in the coming weeks as part of an investigation Mars sample return campaign. Studying regolith using powerful laboratory equipment on Earth will allow scientists to better understand the processes that shaped the Martian surface and help engineers design future missions as well as equipment for future Martian astronauts.

The main objective of the Mars Perseverance mission is Astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and will be the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and regolith (fractured rocks and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), will send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s lunar exploration approach to Mars, which includes Artemis Missions to the Moon will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, operated by NASA’s Caltech in Pasadena, Calif., built and managed the rover’s operations.

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Learn more about perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/