This story is a part of Welcome to Mars, our collection exploring the crimson planet.
It took lower than six weeks for NASA’s Perseverance rover to create the first pattern depot on one other world. NASA JPL introduced Saturday that the rover has efficiently positioned 10 tubes on the Martian floor in a selected sample that may permit a future mission to return fetch them if wanted.
Percy’s labors have been in service of an enormous thought: getting items of Mars again to Earth for shut examine by scientists. Researchers hope they may inform the story of whether or not the crimson planet was as soon as residence to microbial life. The pattern depot is a crucial a part of the upcoming Mars Pattern Return (MSR) mission to convey Martian rocks to Earth within the 2030s.
NASA referred to as the depot completion a significant milestone that concerned precision planning and navigation to ensure the tubes might be collected by two helicopters from the MSR mission. The rover has been gathering samples in pairs, so it might drop one on the bottom and preserve the opposite on board. NASA expects Percy will meet the MSR lander in particular person to ship its samples, but when something prevents that, then the helicopters and pattern depot would be the fallback.
The tubes are principally filled with rock, however the rover additionally dropped a pattern of the Martian environment and a “witness” tube that would assist scientists decide if there was any unintended contamination from Earth. Witness tubes undergo the motions of sampling and sealing, however aren’t full of rock or soil.
The rock samples Percy has collected reflect the varied geology of the Jezero Crater and its history of water. The rover collected both igneous (volcanic) and sedimentary rock cores.
The completion of the depot marks the end of a major task and the beginning of a new exploration as Perseverance heads up an ancient river delta. The rover has been in residence on Mars since early 2021. It’s already proven itself to be a powerhouse of science. Its rock samples might revolutionize our understanding of life in our solar system. Good work, Percy.