Perseverance has left a gift to scientists on Mars, but they won't be able to open it until 2033
In the not-too-distant future, a planetary scientist will open a tube of rocks sourced from Mars.
Thanks to the Perseverance rover, there are at least 17 of these rock and regolith samples that waiting for analysis on Earth. To get them, the rover traveled about 13 kilometers (8 miles) on its geological excursion to Mars.
The rover has been drilling and excavating since shortly after landing, transporting rocks and sand in tubes and special transports.
dropped its first cargo this week near a place called "Three Forks".
This tube contains fragments of igneous rock that he found in January of this year.
It wasn't just "drop and run". Mission engineers had to make sure the tube landed safely. So they did it slowly. First, Perseverance removed the container from her abdomen.
Then he checked everything with a camera before dropping the tube 90 centimeters to the surface.
Another image later showed the mission engineers that the sample was safe the side was positioned . to make collecting easier.
Eventually, any containers that Perseverance has filled will make it to the labs on Earth. Scientists will analyze them to understand the chemical and mineral properties of the samples.
From there, they could assemble a extra correct geological and atmospheric records of the Red Planet.
"Choosing the primary depot on Mars makes this exploration marketing campaign very actual and tangible," said David Parker, ESA's director of Human and Robotic Exploration. "Now we've an area to revisit with samples expecting us there."
What do we examine from the Perseverance Mars rock samples?
Mars is an enigma of a planet. Its records is complex. Volcanoes exist there. How lengthy in the past had been they active?
Canyons cut up the landscape. What induced the ones tectonic actions? Craters scar the planet, digging up fabric from deep below the surface. And, locations on Mars sincerely display proof of flowing liquid water. Yet, no water flows there now. It's all locked up in subsurface ice or on the poles.
So, how will we discover extra approximately the geological records of the planet?
The maximum direct manner is to study rock samples. Mars has igneous rock, in addition to sandstones, mudstones, and clays. And, of course, there is dirt and sand almost everywhere. All of these can inform some thing approximately the time on Mars while lava flowed, lakes and oceans existed, and while all of it happened.
Detailed technical evaluation of igneous rocks will inform how lengthy in the past the volcanoes had been active. Chemical and mineralogical clues in Mars rocks will assist planetary scientists recognize in the event that they had been in touch with water. Finally, all of that records must assist scientists discern out if and while Mars should have supported life.
The rock samples that Perseverance gathers come from one of a kind rock "regimes" in Jezero Crater. Orbital pix display that this vicinity became as soon as an historic delta that became flooded with water. It seems to be wealthy in clay minerals and carbonates, which shape best withinside the presence of water.
Those identical carbonates incorporate a file of Mars's historic climate. Yet, here is every other thrilling component approximately them: on Earth, dwelling organisms also can produce carbonates.
It's now no longer clean if the ones on Mars have the identical life-pleasant origin, however it does make Jezero Crater a tantalizing location to pattern.
Establishing a rock pipeline from Mars to Earth
The pattern-accumulating day trip the use of the tubes has been a part of this system from the beginning. The authentic concept became to have the rover accumulate and supply them to the NASA Sample Return Lander (SRL).
That venture is being deliberate and constructed with the aid of using NASA and the European Space Agency for release later this decade. It must land in Jezero Crater close to Perseverance to make for clean transport of the tubes. The lander is prepared with a pattern switch arm constructed with the aid of using ESA for the job.
Of course, scientists do not need to go away whatever to chance. So, the venture additionally has a backup plan in case Perseverance cannot supply. Mission scientists will send multiple small helicopters out to accumulate the samples.
We realize that might paintings due to the fact the Ingenuity chopper has been cranking away in overtime, displaying scientists simply what a Mars chopper can do.
Once the rocks are onboard the SRL, they may get loaded right into a small rocket with the intention to take off from the surface.
Once in space, it's going to supply them to an ESA-constructed spacecraft orbiting Mars for eventual go back to Earth. If all is going well, the rocks are anticipated to be in labs for extra exact have a take a observe someday in 2033.
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