NASA confirms Mars rover’s 1st rock sample grab, 40 to go

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s newest Mars rover has completed its first sample grab, tucking away the tube of rock for return to Earth. The Perseverance rover team confirmed last week’s successful collection, after reviewing photos of the core sample. NASA wanted to be certain the sample was safe inside the titanium tube, before sharing the news Monday. During Perseverance’s first sampling attempt in early August, the unexpectedly soft rock crumbled. The rover team sought out harder rock for the second try. Perseverance arrived at Mars in February with more than 40 sample tubes. It’s seeking rocks that could contain evidence of past Martian life.