The rover will also deposit sample tubes filled with Martian air.
Ken Farley, Perseverance’s project scientist at Caltech in Pasadena, California, said: “By returning samples to Earth, we hope to answer a number of scientific questions, including the composition of Mars’ atmosphere.
“That’s why we’re interested in an atmospheric sample along with rock samples.”
Perseverance’s first attempt at collecting a rock core failed as the sample proved too crumbly and disintegrated to dust.
Jessica Samuels, the surface mission manager for Perseverance at JPL, said: “The sampling process is autonomous from beginning to end.