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Perseverance Just Looked Inside A Mars Rock 'No One's Ever Seen'

NASA's Perseverance rover has begun digging into its next Martian rock — and it could hold one of the most exciting discoveries yet. As we've seen time and time again, Mars is a planet with many secrets to uncover. Was there ever life on the planet? What kind of lifeforms may have existed on Mars? Is it possible to return Mars to a habitable environment? These are questions people have asked for years, and with each day that passes, we get a little a bit closer to finally answering them.

Aiding with these efforts are numerous robots exploring the Red Planet. NASA's sent rovers, orbiters, and probes to Mars with the hopes of learning as much about it as possible. One such robot that's been a focal point as of late is Perseverance. Since landing on Mars in February 2021, Perseverance has helped capture incredible photos of the Martian surface, collect rock samples that'll eventually return to Earth, and more. While every Mars robot has its own unique purpose and importance, Perseverance is the star pupil right now.

Related: NASA Rover Finds Rocks That May Hold Secrets Of Mars' Ancient Past

Proving that point once more, Perseverance just shared an important mission update on its official Twitter account. On November 9, Perseverance Tweeted four new photos of a rock it's begun digging into. It accompanied the pictures saying, "Peering inside to look at something no one’s ever seen. I’ve abraded a small patch of this rock to remove the surface layer and get a look underneath." The image above shows Perseverance's abrasion work from a distance, while the photo below offers a much closer look at what lies beneath the rock's outer shell. Simply put, it's a truly stunning sight.

Mars is filled with rocks of all shapes and sizes — many of which Perseverance has taken incredible pictures of. So, what makes this particular rock so interesting? It all has to do with its shape. This Martian rock has very distinct layers. As the Perseverance team previously explained, this is often a sign of rocks that formed in water. We know that Mars likely had large amounts of water once flowing on its surface. If these rocks formed there billions of years ago, they could provide unmatched insight into Mars' ancient environment.

Does this rock hold the long-awaited evidence of ancient Martian life? It's possible, but there's still a lot that needs to happen before scientists can say for sure. First, Perseverance needs to successfully collect a sample and store it inside one of its secure tubes. NASA will then eventually launch a collection mission to get the sample, but only once Perseverance has collected more samples from other rocks on the planet. Patience is certainly a virtue with these kinds of things, but at the very least, Perseverance does seem to have stumbled across something special.

Next: Heinz 'Marz' Ketchup Made From Tomatoes Grown In Mars-Like Conditions

Source: NASA

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