Perseverance’s Backup Rock Sample Tubes Placed on Mars Surface
Celebrate the completion of the first sample depot – or scientifically curated collection of rock and soil samples – on another world with NASA's Perseverance rover team. The diverse set of scientifically curated samples could help scientists answer the question of whether ancient life ever arose on the Red Planet.
On Jan. 29, 2023, the Perseverance rover placed a 10th sample tube on the surface of Mars, providing the NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return campaign a backup option to recover rock and soil samples for potential return to Earth in the future.
[Brooklin Cohen] One of the big terms that people always use is Mars is going to Mars. And so you have to have a system that's robust to whatever Mars is going to do.
FIRST ROCK SAMPLES PLACED ON MARS
[Louise Jandura] One of the main things we do on Mars with Perseverance is collect core samples, package them into tubes, and store them in the rover so that they're available to return to Earth in the future.
MARS SAMPLE RETURN WOULD BRING SAMPLES FROM PERSEVERANCE BACK TO EARTH
[Brooklin Cohen] We've collected a whole variety of different types of rocks. Each can tell us something different about Mars. If, for whatever reason, over the next ten years there's any sort of failure with Perseverance where we can't do a direct transfer to the return mission, then we need to have some sample tubes placed on the surface to be collected by the future mission.
PERSEVERANCE MISSION CONTROL - NASA JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
AWAITING FIRST SAMPLE TUBE DROP ON MARS SURFACE
[Rick Welch] People are talking in the room, there seems to be another image…
[Robert Hogg] Congratulations everybody. This is historic!
PERSEVERANCE PLACED 10 OF ITS FIRST 18 SAMPLES IN A BACKUP DEPOT ON MARS’ SURFACE
[Brooklin Cohen] This is the backup option for picking up the samples. It's a massive milestone.
FINAL TUBE DROP FOR SAMPLE DEPOT
[Louise Jandura] It's a big day. It's really a wonderful moment. Made possible not just by this sample and caching team, but by the team as a whole. And it's really great. Okay. I think I have to stop now.
[Louise Jandura] When it works on another planet, you can't really use words to express that feeling of joy and pride and satisfaction and to do it with teammates that you've gotten to know really well and respect a lot is just priceless.
PERSEVERANCE CONTINUES TO EXPLORE, COLLECTING MORE SAMPLES FOR FUTURE RETURN TO EARTH