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NASA Mars rover may have snagged 1st rock sample for return

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's newest Mars rover may have successfully collected its first rock sample for return to Earth, after last month's attempt came up empty.

The chief engineer for the Perseverance rover said Thursday he's “never been more happy to see a hole in a rock.” He called it a perfect core sample.

But NASA later said it is awaiting more photos before declaring success. A month ago, Perseverance drilled into much softer rock and the sample crumbled.

The rover drove to a better spot to try again. Perseverance arrived at Mars in February in search of rocks that might hold evidence of ancient life.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.