Home Science NASA’s Perseverance rover has dropped its final sample of Mars dirt

NASA’s Perseverance rover has dropped its final sample of Mars dirt

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NASA’s Perseverance rover will drop the last of its 10 sample tubes to the surface of Mars to test humanity’s “Another world’s first sample depotThe rover began depositing titanium tubes containing rock and dust samples 6 weeks ago As part of the Mars Sample Return mission, it will collect Martian material and deliver it to Earth for further study.

Perseverance will land on Mars in February 2021, with its primary mission to land within a 28-mile-wide bowl known as Jezero Crater, search for signs of ancient microbial life, and collect samples of the Martian environment. I was. Scientists believe that billions of years ago, the Jezero crater may have contained a river that fed into a vast lake, providing the environment needed to support microbial life. I believe there is.

The rover is currently carrying 17 major samples, which the space agency hopes will eventually be delivered to the sample return lander and returned to Earth. A newly completed sample depot⁠ in the Three Forks region of Jezero Crater⁠ will serve as a backup cache in case Perseverance is unable to deliver his samples onboard. The location of each tube has been carefully mapped so that it can be found and collected by two Ingenuity-like helicopters, even when covered in dust.

Perseverance is programmed to carefully knock down tubes that land vertically on the ends (as above) in order to make them easier to pick up on future missions.
Image: NASA

The tables are set for Three Forks, but Perseverance is still reported to be in good shape and will embark on an extended mission to explore the nearby Delta Top region. Exploring rocks and sediments that are expected to last for months and may have been brought to Jezero Crater by ancient rivers.

A map showing the location of each tube in the sample depot for the Mars Sample Return mission.

This map shows where the Perseverance rover dropped each of the 10 samples in the Three Forks region of Jezero Crater.
Image: NASA

The focus of the main mission is on the future reuse of Mars samples. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin was commissioned last year to build the Mars His Ascent His Vehicle (MAV), which needs to take off from the surface of Mars. If successful, it will be the first rocket to be launched from another planet and should pass the collected samples to Mars. A spacecraft built by the European Space Agency will then deliver the valuable cargo back to Earth in the hands of aspiring scientists.

NASA currently estimates that the sample recovery lander will land by 2028 at the earliest, and the collected samples will arrive on Earth by at least 2033.

This is obviously easier said than done. Sample his return mission to Mars He has been working for over a decade and requires a number of highly complex procedures to succeed. Some of them have never been attempted before, like landing a rocket on Mars that can take off again. But if the team behind the mission can pull off these extremely difficult endeavors, we’ll be closer than ever to knowing if life ever existed outside of Earth.

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