(ORDO NEWS) — On December 21, NASA‘s Perseverance rover placed the first titanium test tube with a rock sample on the surface of the Red Planet.
Over the next two months, Perseverance is scheduled to host a total of 10 samples at a location dubbed “Three Forks” and set up the first sample repository on another planet.
Perseverance took duplicate samples from objects selected by the mission. The rover currently has 17 samples (including one atmospheric sample).
According to the architecture of the Mars sample delivery campaign, Perseverance will have to deliver the test tubes to the future lander.
The lander, in turn, will use a robotic arm to place the samples in a protective capsule aboard a small rocket that will travel to Mars orbit, where another spacecraft will grab the sample container and bring it safely to Earth.
The vault will serve as a backup in case Perseverance is unable to deliver its samples. In this case, a couple of helicopters will be called to complete the work to collect them.
The first sample of igneous rock was placed in the vault. It was collected on January 31, 2022 in the region of the Lake Jezero crater, in the South Sita region.
It took Perseverance almost an hour to remove the metal tube, view it with a camera, and drop the sample onto a selected area of the Martian surface.
When the engineers saw that the tube had fallen, they used the WATSON camera at the end of the robotic arm to look under the rover and make sure the tube had been lowered correctly and not rolled under the wheels of Perseverance.
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