When mounting usb drive not recognized

OK so I have an older 256mb USB drive I was trying to mount. Yesterday I believe I used a Whonix/Fedora disposable VM to format it Fat32 (that should offer the most compatibility no?) and I suspect that may be related because yesterday when I plugged in the USB and mounted to the VM, it showed up in the file manager. Today not so much. When I run a “sudo lsblk” I see the drive, though it shows undersized (16mb) and is labelled ‘sda’. If I try and mount I get:
sudo mount /dev/sda /media
mount: /media wrong fs type, bad option etc.

Is there a way I can mount it without losing the drive contents?

Given it’s a (very) old drive, it could be that it got corrupted (or was already corrupted)… non-related to Qubes

Can I format it without mounting it? hopefully fixing the corruption

I don’t know much about this, but I’d say you risk loosing any data you put on there. But there is nothing Qubes-specific here. So you might find better answers by searching for how to solve that on linux.