A Perseverance ATV sent by the U.S. Space Agency to Nassa on Mars is now preparing to collect the first rock samples from the red planet.

The collection will take place in the Lake Crater area within the next two weeks.

The crater was still a lake 3.5 billion years ago, and scientists believe it hides potential signs of past microbial life on Mars, CNN says.

One hypothesis that scientists are now trying to test is whether the lake in the Jezero Crater has been filled and dried several times.

Read also: The role of the Mars ATV in one graphic - this is how Perseverance breaks down and analyzes the planet's surface

The samples collected by the ATV are to be brought to Earth for later analysis, but the ATV itself also has tools installed to determine the mineral composition and chemical composition of the sample rock.

The samples are used to finally get an answer to the question of whether there has been life on Mars.

In order to obtain samples collected and stored by Perseverance on Earth, Nasa has planned to retrieve the device together with the European Space Agency.

However, it will not happen very quickly, but is estimated to be in the 2030s.

A close-up taken by Perseverance on July 11 from the surface of Mars.

Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ZUMA

A picture of Mars taken on July 8th.

Photo: Cover Images / ZUMA

CNN says Perseverance’s two-meter-long robotic arm is responsible for drilling rocks and taking geological samples.

Once the sample is obtained, the ATV scratches off the surface layers of the stone and blows it clean, after which it can be examined with Perseverance’s scientific instruments.

Nasa says on its website that where Neil Armstrong once collected a sample from the surface of the Moon in less than four minutes, it will take 11 days to take a sample from Mars as Perseverance receives its command from Earth.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Nasa presented fresh images of Mars.

Among other things, they show how the wind transports dust on the surface of Mars.

  • Watch a video of Nasa’s Wednesday press conference in the box under the heading.

Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. It is scheduled to study the planet for two years.

Read also: The world's most modern Mars ATV is powered by a piece that became familiar to many as early as the 90's - have you also used "space technology" without your knowledge?