Who will start it? NASA’s Perseverance rover, deployed in Jezero Crater on Mars. It will be the construction of the first repository on another planet. In this case, a sample repository. The rover will deposit a total of 10 tubes of Martian rock samples.
How will it start the construction process? It will drop one of its titanium sample tubes. It carries a rock core the size of chalk. He will do this in an area inside Jezero Crater nicknamed “Three Forks”. This is a level, rock-free area.
Rocks from everywhere
The rover took a pair of samples from each of its rock targets. Half of each pair will be deposited in Three Forks as a backup set. The other half will remain inside Perseverance. “It’s an incredible set representative of the area explored during the main mission.” Meenakshi Wadhwa, lead scientist for the Mars Sample Return program, explained in a statement.
Perseverance’s core mission will conclude on January 6, 2023. “We will continue to work on deploying the sample repository when our extended mission begins on January 7. So nothing changes from that perspective,” said Art Thompson. He is project manager for Perseverance at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). “However, once the table is set at Three Forks, we’ll head to the top of the delta. The science team wants to get a good look up there.”
Climbing the delta
They called it the “Delta Top Campaign.” This new scientific phase will begin when Perseverance completes its ascent up the steep delta embankment. It will reach the expanse that forms the upper surface of the Jezero delta. When? Probably sometime in February. It’s about an eight-month campaign. The science team will look for rocks and other materials around it. They are believed to have been deposited by the ancient river that formed this delta. These new rocks will also be stored in the first repository on another planet.
Someday maybe we’ll see a Walmart over there – who knows?