Cored-Rock Sample From Perseverance Test
This image shows a core, about 2.8 inches (71.1 millimeters) in length, collected from a basaltic rock during a test of the Perseverance rover's Sampling and Caching System at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. After a sampling test is completed, engineers carefully remove the core from its sample tube and place it in a sample tray, as they've done here, to document the result.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars 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 be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would 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 Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.