NASA’s Perseverance rover is making history on Mars. The SUV-sized rover has just created the first sample depot on the Red Planet, dropping 10 titanium tubes that will eventually be brought back to Earth for study. The sample tubes, containing a variety of Martian geology, have been placed in the “Three Forks” region of Jezero Crater. NASA’s Curiosity Rover Discovers Opal Gems on Mars in Search for Signs of Water.
Astronomers believe the igneous and sedimentary rock cores will provide a comprehensive look at the geologic processes that took place in Jezero after the crater’s formation almost 4 billion years ago. The depot samples will serve as a backup set, while the other half of the samples remain inside the Perseverance rover. The rover has also dropped an atmospheric sample to ensure the samples collected aren’t contaminated with materials that traveled from Earth.
Perseverance is now headed up the delta and will soon begin the Delta Top Campaign. One of the first stops will be at the “Curvilinear Unit,” made up of sediments that were deposited in a bend in one of Jezero’s river channels millions of years ago. As the rover ascends the delta into a river setting, it will move into rocks that are composed of larger grains and likely originated from outside of Jezero.
NASA’s Perseverance rover is continuously making significant discoveries on Mars, furthering our understanding of the Red Planet and paving the way for future exploration and study.