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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Shows 10 Sample Tubes on Mars for Future Mission

Perseverance’s Portrait of the Sample Depot: An annotated version of the portrait captured by NASA’s Perseverance shows the location of the 10 sample tubes in the depot. The “Amalik” sample closest to the rover was about 10 feet (3 meters) away; the “Mageik” and “Malay” samples farthest away were approximately 197 feet (60 meters) from the rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS.

NASA just announced the Perseverance rover began building a sample depot on Mars on December 21, 2022, and its 10 titanic tube samples at specific places were completed. The 10 sample tubes are on the surface of Mars where future missions of its “sample retrieval lander” will be part of the campaign, from another planet to Earth to study, according to NASA. “Perseverance built the depot at “Three Forks,” a location within Jezero Crater. Billions of years ago, a river flowed into the crater, carrying sediment that formed a steep, fan-shaped delta that the rover will drive up in the months ahead.”

The 10-tube samples for Mars are astrobiology that seeks the signs of ancient microbial life and the rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate for human exploration of the Red Planet. The first mission will be collecting and caching Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust). NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are cooperating on this mission, and they will send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed tube samples from the surface to bring them to deep analysis.

Eight tubes are filled with rock and regolith (broken rock and dust), one is an atmospheric sample, and one is a witness tube. The rover photographed the depot using the Mastcam-Z camera on the top of its mast, or “head,” on Jan.31, 2023. The color has been adjusted to show the Martian surface closely as it would look to the human eyes. The rover collected 18 tube samples for backup originally.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover. Arizona State University leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras, and in collaboration with the Neils Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen on the design, fabrication, and testing of the calibration targets.

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