The US space agency, NASA, has confirmed that its rover, Perseverance, has succeeded in extracting the first rock sample from Mars.
On Monday, the agency published a picture of the sample on Twitter, accompanied by the comment, “We got it.”
Last week, NASA suggested that its robot had extracted this sample, but the images taken were not clear enough due to poor lighting and did not allow it to confirm the matter conclusively.
Perseverance took new pictures that allowed to break the doubt.
“Thanks to better illumination of the bottom of the collector tube, you can see that the rock sample I extracted is still there,” the agency tweeted.
The next task is to re-close the tube and store it.
The sample was taken from a rock the size of a document purse bearing the name “Rochet”.
Last August, the mobile robot Perseverance failed in its attempt to take a piece of rock from Mars, the first of about 30 samples scheduled to be returned to Earth within years for analysis.
The move aims to search for signs of ancient life, such as traces of fossilized microbial life in rocks, and also to better understand the geology of Mars.
The mission was launched from Florida a year and a half ago.
Perseverance, the size of a large SUV, landed on February 18 at Jezero crater, which scientists believe contained a deep lake 3.5 billion years ago. This environment may have created the necessary conditions for life outside the planet.
NASA is planning a mission to return the samples to Earth in the 1930s for analysis using instruments more complex than those that can be brought to Mars today.