NASA’s Perseverance Rover has collected a rock containing the mineral Olivine. The team tweeted: “Another piece of Mars to take with me.”

This third of three samples that the SUV-sized robot will gather on Red Planet is what it leaves for its future return mission to Earth.

NASA Perseverance, a rover from NASA, landed on Red Planet’s surface in February. The rover is currently making slow progress across Jezero Crater’s 28-mile floor. 

US Space Agency tweeted that the latest sample was taken from rock containing greenish mineral Olivine. There are many theories among scientists about how this got there. The possibilities are endless! Science rules.  

Although there aren’t any details about these hypotheses, olivine is an iron-magnesium silicate that makes up the bulk of Earth’s upper layer. 

A rock loaded with the mineral olivine has been collected by the NASA Perseverance rover, with the team tweeting: 'Another little piece of Mars to carry with me'

NASA Perseverance Rover has collected a rock containing the mineral Olivine. The team tweeted: “Another piece of Mars to take with me.”

This is the third in a series of samples the SUV-sized rover will collect during its time operating on the Red Planet, leaving them for a future mission to return to Earth

This third sample is part of a larger series that the SUV-sized robot will gather on Red Planet. Its data will be used to help with future missions back to Earth.


NASA’s Perseverance Rover failed to find a Martian core during the first attempt, according to an August 6 announcement by NASA. 

Although the drill, coring bit, and tube processing worked exactly as expected, data indicated that the tube was empty upon extraction. 

Jennifer Trosper, project manager for Perseverance at JPL, said in a statement: ‘The initial thinking is that the empty tube is more likely a result of the rock target not reacting the way we expected during coring, and less likely a hardware issue with the Sampling and Caching System.’

NASA discovered that the rock in this location was extremely soft and porous, so the operation failed. 

Each of the 43 titanium tubes carried by the Rover are loaded into one tube. 

Back in the early days of our solar system’s existence, billions of years ago, the Jezero Crater had a lake and a river delta. This made it an ideal place to look for signs of life.

Perseverance’s primary purpose is to find chemical fossils or remnants that can point back to long-forgotten microbial life.

It is also firing its laser at the rocks and disturbing soil samples to determine the most effective way of placing it in the titanium tubes.  

The Perseverance Team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory collected the first two samples from the rock referred to as “Rochette” in the early part of September.

NASA had difficulty getting the rock to stick in the tube. NASA blamed the rock’s’surprisingly crumbly’ nature for the success.

The latest sample comes from a rugged dune patch called ‘Séítah,’ the Navajo word meaning ‘amongst the sand’.

This region contains a variety of multi-layered rocks that the JPL team believes might indicate once flowing water.

The space agency tweeted that layered rocks such as this are often formed in water and could hold clues to their past environment. 

Erin Gibbons (McGill University, Canada), Perseverance student, says that each layer contains details about the environment when it formed. Layer thicknesses and texture variations indicate changes in the environment.  

‘Further, by studying the directions that the layers tilted, we determined that the rocks of Séítah are likely the most ancient rocks exposed in all of Jezero Crater,’ Gibbons wrote in a blog post. 

‘Séítah therefore represents the beginning of the accessible geologic record and offers a once-in-a-mission opportunity to explore the full breadth of landscape evolution.’  

There are no details on what the olivine discovery means, but it is a magnesium iron silicate and it makes up most of the Earth's upper mantle

We don’t know much about the significance of the Olivine Discovery, except that it is a magnesium iron Silicate. It makes up almost all the Earth’s upper mantle.

The US space agency tweeted on November 16: 'My latest sample is from a rock loaded with the greenish mineral olivine, and there are several ideas among my science team about how it got there. Hypotheses are flying! Science rules'

On November 16, the US space agency posted this tweet: “My most recent sample comes from a rock containing the greenish mineral Olivine. There are many theories among my science team as to how it got there. The possibilities are endless! Science is the ultimate authority

NASA has plans to send 30 samples to Earth by 2030. Scientists will then be able conduct further analysis to confirm the existence of microbial life.

However, Perseverance itself is not bringing the samples back to Earth – when the rover reaches a suitable location, the tubes will dropped on the surface of Mars to be collected by a future retrieval mission, which is currently being developed.

Perseverance will take samples from Mars and drop them in a location suitable for future retrieval missions.

NASA and ESA currently plan to launch two additional spacecraft which will leave Earth by 2026, and return to Mars by 2028.

The first will deploy a small rover, which will make its way to Perseverance, pick up the filled sampling tubes and transfer them to a ‘Mars ascent vehicle’ – a small rocket.

The NASA Perseverance rover landed on the Red Planet in February and is slowly trundling its way across the floor of the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater

NASA Perseverance, a rover from NASA, landed on Mars in February. The rover is making slow progress across the Jezero Crater floor.

The primary mission of Perseverance is to see if it can find remnants, or chemical fossils, that point to this long-gone microbial life

Perseverance has the primary purpose of looking for chemical fossils (or remnants) that could point towards this long-dead microbial life.

The rover carries 43 titanium tubes, and as it finds a piece of rock mission command wants to study, it loads the rock into one of these tubes for later collection

It carries 43 titanium tubes. When it discovers a bit of rock that the mission command would like to examine, it places it in one of these tubes and collects it later.

This rocket will blast off – in the process becoming the first object launched from the surface of Mars – and place the container into Martian orbit, meaning it will essentially be floating in space

The third spacecraft, which is the final one involved in this tricky operation, will maneuver itself near the sample container and pick it up before flying it back to Earth.

If it is successful in re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere, the Martian sample won’t even be examined for 10 more years.

Perseverance and perseverance were also required to make the trip to Mars with Ingenuity, a 4-pound (11.8-kilograms) robot helicopter.

The copter has been performing a series of flights of increasing complexity on the Red Planet, starting with its maiden flight on April 19. 


NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, launched by NASA in 2020, was designed to find signs of early life on Mars in order to aid scientists in better understanding how Earth evolved in its earliest years.

Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover is exploring an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600ft deep lake.

It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples to hunt for evidence of the life.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) is searching for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

Nasa’s Mars 2020 Rover (artist’s impression) searches for evidence of life from Mars to aid scientists in better understanding how our planet evolved.

The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spaceship launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside – and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance reached the top of the crater to collect small samples, which are then returned to Earth.

The European Space Agency will partner with the European Space Agency to fly a second mission to Mars and bring back the samples.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

Concept art depicting the Mars 2020 Rover landing on Mars via NASA’s “sky-crane” system