ORLANDO, Fla. — More than six months after first landing on Mars, NASA’s Perseverance Rover completed a major milestone this week.
The rover, nicknamed Percy, recently collected a sample of Martian rock, the first ever drilled on another planet.
The sample will be sent back to Earth through the Mars Sample Return campaign to be examined in ways that aren’t possible on the red planet.
NASA will host a virtual briefing at noon Friday to provide an update on the rover’s mission, including its successful rock sampling.
During the briefing, representatives from the Perseverance mission and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Planetary Science Division will discuss what the rover’s instruments were able to learn about the rock sample, and what its findings mean for future missions.
Viewers will be able to submit questions during the briefing through social media using the tag #AskNASA.
Perseverance landed on Mars back in February and began the science phase of its mission in June.
An earlier attempt to collect a Martian rock sample failed because the rock crumbled during the drilling process.
According to NASA, the rover moved to a different location and attempted to collect a sample from a rock nicknamed “Rochette,” which held up better.
Since then, scientists have been using Perseverance’s instruments to analyze the rock from which the sample was taken.
Part of the Perseverance mission includes the search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars, and potentially paving the way for future human exploration of the planet.