After it began the construction of the first mars sample depot took less than six weeks to complete its mission. At Southern California in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the mission controllers received confirmation that the Perseverance Mars rover successfully dropped the 10th and final tube planned for the depot around 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST) Sunday, Jan. 29.
How is this going to help in the research of Mars?
This big achievement was all thanks to precise planning and navigation. This ensures that the tubes could be safely returning back in the future. The NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Mars rover Sample Return campaign, aims to bring samples from Mars to Earth. This will be very essential for closer examination. Which is going to help in studying Mars’s habitat.
During its science campaigns, the rover has collected a pair of samples from rocks regarded as scientifically substantial by the mission team. Scientists have stored one sample from each pair in the organized depot in the “Three Forks” region of Jezero Crater. The depot samples serve as backup. The other half remains inside Perseverance.
One sample from each pair collected thus far is now stored in the nicely organized depot in the “Three Forks” region of Jezero Crater. The Mars sample depot samples will be very useful as a backup set. While the other half will be kept inside Perseverance. This will be the primary means of transporting samples to a Sample Retrieval Lander as part of the campaign.
According to mission scientists, the igneous and sedimentary rock cores will be very beneficial. It will provide an excellent sample of the geologic processes that occurred in Jezero shortly after the crater’s formation about 4 billion years ago.
The rover also left an atmospheric sample and a “witness” tube. This will help to see if the samples being collected are contaminated with materials carried by the rover from Earth.
The “Witness” tube!
The titanium tubes are put on the surface in an intricate zigzag pattern. Each sample spaces about 15 to 50 feet (5 to 15 meters) apart to ensure a safe return. The team must precisely map the location of each 7-inch-long (18.6-centimeter-long) tube and glove (adapter) combination. So that the samples could be found even if covered in dust. However, this was time-consuming in the depot-creation process. On the flat ground near the base of an ancient river delta. This was formed long ago when a river flowed into a lake where the Mars sample depot is located.
Passing the Rocky Top outcrop marks the end of the rover’s Delta Front Campaign because of the geologic transition that occurs at that level. And also the beginning of the rover’s Delta Top Campaign.
One of the first stops the Mars rover will make during the new science campaign will be at a location “Curvilinear Unit” by the science team. The unit, which is essentially a Martian sandbar, is made of sediment that was deposited ages ago in a bend in one of Jezero’s inflowing river channels. The science team believes the Curvilinear Unit will be an excellent location for searching for intriguing sandstone and possibly mudstone outcrops, as well as gaining insight into the geological processes occurring beyond the walls of Jezero Crater.
What are Rick Welch and Ken Farley’s remarks about this milestone?
Rick Welch is the deputy project manager of JPL. He says that “With the Three Forks depot in our rearview mirror, Perseverance is now headed up the delta,”. Moreover, he said: “We’ll make our ascent via the ‘Hawksbill Gap’ route we previously explored. Once we pass the geologic unit the science team calls ‘Rocky Top,’ we will be in new territory and begin exploring the Delta Top.”
Perseverance project scientist at Caltech “Ken Farley” said: “We found that from the base of the delta up to the level where Rocky Top is located, the rocks appear to have been deposited in a lake environment,”. Moreover, he said: “And those just above Rocky Top appear to have been created in or at the end of a Martian river flowing into the lake. As we ascend the delta into a river setting, we expect to move into rocks that are composed of larger grains – from sand to large boulders. Those materials likely originated in rocks outside Jezero, eroded, and washed into the crater.”
Published by: Sky Headlines