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The spacecraft has already collected 11 rock samples that may contain information about whether there was life on Mars or not.
NASA said that the next, 11th rock sample collected by the Perseverance rover, may be the key to unraveling the mystery of whether life existed on the Red Planet or it was never there, according to Space.
NASA has high hopes that the collected rock samples on Mars still contain signs of microbial life, and the latest sample at the moment may be proof of this.
Now NASA has begun preparations for a mission to bring all the collected rock samples on the Red Planet back to Earth. Recently, as Focus already wrote, NASA made adjustments to its program for the delivery of rock samples from Mars to our planet for a thorough study.
At first, it was planned to send another rover to Mars, which would take its findings from Perseverance and deliver them to the lander. After that, a special rocket will send them into orbit and all the samples will be transferred to the orbiter. And after that, all samples will go to Earth.
But NASA decided that the Perseverance rover itself could cope with the task, but they would send two aircraft to help it, which are very similar to the only such device on Mars so far – Ingenuity.
NASA believes that 11 – The rock sample the rover collected could still contain signs of microbial life, preliminary analysis by the rover shows. But scientists will be able to get an exact answer only when all the collected samples fall into their hands.
The mission to return collected rock samples to Mars is a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency. The first spacecraft that will provide delivery will be sent to Mars as early as 2028. According to NASA plans, over the years, the Perseverance rover will prepare all the collected samples in the Lake crater for shipment, as well as help scientists choose a place for landing a lander with a rocket.
There are 43 sample containers aboard the rover, but only 38 of them need to be filled martian breed. That is, it remains to collect another 27 samples. NASA said that only the most promising finds, such as this 11th sample, will go to Earth.
The Perseverance rover landed on Mars back in February 2021 and took its first soil sample only in September. Now the device is exploring the ancient river delta in the Jezero crater, where, according to scientists, there should be signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.