Nearly two years after it was launched to the Red Planet, the Perseverance rover has constructed a sample depot on Mars that will be used by future missions to return samples to Earth. The rover has sent a panoramic view of the recently completed sample depot, which is a big milestone for the mission and humanity’s first collection of samples on another planet. The image has been made from 368 images that were sent to Earth. The depot consists of 8 tubes filled with rock and regolith from Mars, 1 atmospheric sample, and 1 “witness” tube. The first critical requirement was finding a level, rock-free stretch of terrain which has room for each tube to be deposited. The next target was to figure out exactly where and how to deploy the tubes within that location. While Perseverance has dropped these sample tubes, work is underway on Earth to ready for the retrieving mission that will launch to Mars, pick up these samples and return home.
Today: November 30, 2023