NASA Mars rover begins collecting rock in search of alien life

This image was taken on August 6, 2021 by NASA and shows the shadow cast by the Perseverance Mars Rover next to the first hole it drilled in rock.NASA's Perseverance Rover has been drilling into Mars' surface and collecting rock samples for future missions. Scientists on Earth will then be able to analyze them.Friday's images by the US space agency showed a small mound with an opening in the middle, next to the robot. This was the first time a robot has ever dug into the Red Planet."Sample collection has begun!" Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator, tweeted the following:The first step in a sampling process is drilling a hole. It is expected that this will take approximately 11 days. The goal is to look for signs of ancient microbes that might have been preserved in old lakebed deposits.Scientists are also hoping to gain a better understanding of Martian geology.The mission launched from Florida just over a year ago. Perseverance, which measures in at the same size as a large family car, landed in the Jezero Crater on February 18.Scientists believe that the crater was home to a deep lake that existed 3.5 billion years ago. This may have allowed for extraterrestrial life.NASA has plans to send around 30 samples back to Earth by the 2030s. These samples will be analysed using instruments more advanced than those currently available on Mars.Continue exploring NASA's rover that is preparing to collect the first Mars rock samples2021 AFP