Perseverance Mars rover fumbled 1st sampling attempt because of ‘unique’ powdery rock, NASA finds

The first borehole drilled by NASA’s Perseverance rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Perseverance rover’s first sample collection didn’t go as planned due to trouble with a “unique” and unexpectedly powdery Mars rock. 

Perseverance launched to the Red Planet on Feb. 18 to search for signs of ancient Mars life and collect and store samples for future study back on Earth. However, when the rover made its first attempt to take a sample of Martian dirt on Aug. 6, things didn’t go exactly as planned in a series of events that Louise Jandura, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s chief engineer for sampling and caching, described as a “rollercoaster of emotions” in a NASA statement

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