NASA’s Perseverance to attempt second Mars soil scoop, hoping rocks don’t ‘crumble’

A photo showing the hole drilled during Perseverance’s first sample collection attempt, that left the rover’s sample tube empty. | NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, is getting ready for another attempt, in the coming weeks, to scoop up Martian rocks after its first attempt earlier this month didn’t play out as engineers expected. The rover’s sample-caching arm worked, engineers say, but the sampling tube turned up empty.

Now the rover, a science lab on wheels that landed on Mars in February, will drive to a new location called Citadelle for a second shot at picking up its first rock sample. This time, to make sure a sample is actually collected, engineers will wait for images of the sample tube to come back before it gets processed and stowed inside the rover’s belly.

‘No sample? What do you mean no sample?’

“We were just super excited that the hardware worked from…

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