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1 Feb, 2023
2 min time to read

The Mars Rover has established a sample storage area on the Red Planet, which could be retrieved and brought back to Earth in the future.

The Perseverance Rover, operated by NASA, has successfully placed the final of 10 tubes containing rock and dust samples on the surface of Mars, marking humanity's first ever sample depot on another planet. This achievement is part of a larger mission to gather and return Martian materials to Earth for further examination.

The rover landed in the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater in February 2021 with the primary goal of searching for evidence of past microbial life and collecting environmental samples. Scientists believe Jezero Crater, which was possibly once home to a river leading to a large lake, may have provided the necessary conditions for supporting microbial life billions of years ago.

The Perseverance rover is carrying 17 important samples and NASA plans to bring them back to Earth via a sample return lander. In case Perseverance fails to deliver the samples, they will be stored at the newly established backup cache in the Three Forks region of the Jezero Crater. The samples' location has been precisely recorded so that they can be retrieved by two helicopters similar to Ingenuity, even if obscured by dust.

Although the cache has been set up, Perseverance is still in good shape and will now embark on an extended mission to explore the Delta Top area near Jezero Crater. The eight-month-long Delta Top campaign will examine rocks and sediment brought into the crater by an ancient river. The focus of the mission has shifted to retrieving the Martian samples and bringing them back to Earth. Last year, defense contractor Lockheed Martin was tasked with building the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) which will launch from Mars, making it the first rocket ever to launch from another planet. The samples will then be transferred to a spacecraft being built by the European Space Agency and eventually reach eager scientists back on Earth.

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