Perseverance rover to build first-of-its-kind Mars warehouse

Perseverance rover to build first-of-its-kind Mars warehouse
Written by admin

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore the universe with news about fascinating discoveries, scientific advances and more.


The Perseverance rover is about to build the first repository of rock and soil samples on another planet. Creating a cache space is a milestone in the intricate preparation to return the first rocks and dirt from Mars to Earth by 2033.

In a few days, the rover will begin dumping some of the sample tubes containing chalk-sized rock cores and sediment collected from the Martian surface into storage in an area called the Three Forks in Jezero Crater.

Green circles indicate the locations of various drop-off sites for samples on Mars.

The 10 tubes will drop approximately 2.9 feet (88.4 centimeters) from the rover’s belly and land at different points on flat, rockless terrain at Three Forks over the next 30 days.

The rover collects sample pairs from the rocks it has drilled and stores a backup set as a precaution.

this Mars Sample Return ProgramIt will be an effort, jointly led by NASA and the European Space Agency, to land on Mars, retrieve samples, and return them to Earth within the next decade.

“The samples for this repository – and the replicas kept at Perseverance – are an incredible set representative of the region discovered during the main mission,” said Mars Sample Return program chief scientist Meenakshi Wadhwa in a statement.

“We do not have igneous and sedimentary rocks that have recorded at least two, and possibly four, or more distinct modes of watery alteration, but also regolithatmosphere and and witness tubesaid Wadhwa, also the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Studies, cites samples of igneous and sedimentary rock, water-altered rocks, surface dust, and even the Martian atmosphere.

Perseverance photographed a future warehouse in an area nicknamed Three Forks on December 14.

Perseverance collects rocks and soil while investigating the location of an ancient lake that existed billions of years ago. This material may contain evidence of past microscopic organisms that could reveal whether life existed on Mars. Scientists will use some of the most advanced tools to study these precious specimens.

Initially, the plan was to launch a fetch rover, along with a Sample Retrieval Lander in the mid-2020s. When released on the Martian surface, the rover would pick up samples from Perseverance’s stash.

Perseverance will now be the primary transport vehicle carrying the samples to the landing craft. The rover’s latest assessment shows it still needs to be in top condition to deliver samples Perseverance will return to the lander and the lander’s robotic arm will transfer samples.

The Sample Retrieval Lander will carry two sample rescue helicopters, similar in style to the Ingenuity helicopter currently on Mars.

Engineers were impressed with Ingenuity’s performance. The helicopter has survived over a year above its expected lifespan and is about to make its 37th flight. If Perseverance is unable to return the samples to the lander, small helicopters will fly from the lander, using their arms to retrieve and return samples.

Perseverance has collected a wide variety of specimens during its journey thus far.

“Until now, missions to Mars only required one good landing site; We need 11,” Richard Cook, Mars Sample Return program manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.

“The first is for the Sample Retrieval Lander, but then we need around 10 more so our Sample Recovery Helicopters can take off, land and drive.”

The Mars Sample Return team is also focused on the pattern Perseverance will use to drop their samples.

This illustration shows the team of robots and spacecraft that will be sending samples of Mars back to Earth.

“You can’t leave them in one big pile because rescue helicopters are designed to interact with only one tube at a time,” Cook said.

The rover will drop the pipes in an intricate zigzag pattern, leaving enough space around each drop zone to allow helicopters to retrieve them if needed.

Perseverance's exploration of Jezero Crater has revealed formations such as Betty's Rock.

The Sample Retrieval Lander also carries the Mars Ascent Vehicle, the first rocket to be launched from the Martian surface, and the samples are safely stored inside. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch from Mars in 2031. In the mid-2020s, a separate mission called the Earth Return Orbiter will launch from Earth to meet with the Mars Ascension Vehicle.

Perseverance used the robot arm camera to take a detailed photo of Betty's Rock.

The resident Earth Return Orbiter is a system that will collect the container containing samples from the Mars Ascension Vehicle while both instruments are in orbit around the red planet.

The Return to Earth Orbiter will then return to our planet. When the spacecraft approaches Earth, it will drop a containing vehicle. cache of samples and that spacecraft will land on Earth in 2033.

Perseverance’s main mission will conclude on January 6, about two years (and one Martian year) after landing on the red planet. But the rover’s journey isn’t over yet.

“We will continue to work on the sample repository deployment when our extended mission (January 7) begins, so nothing changes in that regard,” said Art Thompson, Perseverance’s project manager at JPL. “However, when the table is set at Three Forks, we will go to the top of the delta. The science team wants to take a good look there.”

Perseverance will switch to their new scientific operation, the Delta Top Campaign, in the new year. The rover will finish climbing the steep bank of an ancient river delta that once emptied into Jezero Crater’s lake billions of years ago, and will reach the delta’s upper surface in February.

This map shows Perseverance's planned route through the top of the Jezero Crater delta in 2023.

Over the next eight months, Perseverance will look for rocks and additional materials the river can carry. may have received from It has accumulated in other parts of Mars and in the delta.

“The Delta Top Campaign is an opportunity for us to take a look at the geological process beyond the walls of Jezero Crater,” Katie Stack Morgan, deputy Perseverance project scientist at JPL, said in a statement.

“Billions of years ago, a raging river carried debris and boulders for miles beyond the lake walls. We will explore these ancient river deposits and take samples of long-traveled rocks and boulders.”

About the author


Leave a Comment