NASA's Perseverance rover collects second Mars rock sample

Photo: NASA

NASA's Perseverance rover has successfully taken a second sample of Martian rock and carried out initial analysis of the haul, the US space agency said on Friday. The samples are "likely volcanic with hints of salts that may hold bubbles of ancient water," NASA tweeted on behalf of the six-wheeled rover, dpa reported.

Project scientist Ken Farley said that the samples "reveal a potentially habitable sustained environment." "It's a big deal that the water was there a long time," Farley said in a statement.

Perseverance successfully collected its first sample of Martian rock, named Montdenier, on Monday and securely placed it in a container to be returned to Earth. The second sample, Montagnac, was collected from the same rock two days later.

A first drilling attempt failed in August. According to NASA, the rover's technology worked perfectly at the time, but the rock was not solid enough and only produced small, powdery fragments that could not be filled into the sample tube.

Perseverance landed on Mars at the end of February following a development programme lasting eight years and costing around $2.5bn.

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