In recent days we have written about how the NASA Ingenuity drone has reached the milestone of the 40th flight on Mars. A record that the engineers hardly thought could be achieved. However, this should not make us forget that the Mars 2020 mission is mainly related to the activity of NASA Perseverance rover which is completing the deposit operations of the test tubes with the samples for the backup of the Mars Sample Return mission.
Of the operations of the US rover we had recently written and, in the past few hours, there was confirmation that even the ninth sample it was deposited on Martian soil. In total, in this session which began towards the end of last year, ten will be left and therefore we are moving towards its conclusion (but it will not be the only one). A historic moment even if, we remember, these test tubes are the backup ones and not the main ones that will remain inside the rover.
NASA Perseverance deposits the ninth sample on Martian soil
As reported from the official account of the mission ninth sample was deposited on January 20 during the 682nd sol. The operations ended correctly with the titanium test tube lying on the ground in a horizontal position. This will allow Ingenuity-like drones to retrieve it in case the rover should have problems in the next few years getting up to the lander that will land on Mars in the next few years.
Engineers estimated that Martian sand and dust shouldn’t be a problem. The test tubes should therefore not be lost even after years on the Red Planet. In general though it is hoped that NASA Perseverance manages to match if not exceed the performance of NASA Curiosity (which landed in mid-2012).
Always according to the information, inside the ninth test tube deposited on the soil of Mars is the ninth sample collected. The release does not take place following the collection time sequence and therefore that the ninth sample released is also the ninth sample collected is not indicative.
The sample is the one taken near the rover’s landing site from Sid rock. There “carrot” of rock took the name of Atsa (or Atsah). The sample was sealed on March 13, 2022 while the rock is of the igneous type. According to the first analyzes of this rock (and related sample), its characteristics could provide scientists with information on what the lake was like before it dried up and could also allow a chronological dating of the age of the area from which it was taken.
Vandi Vermahead of operations NASA Perseverance, he wrote in a tweets “Mars operations make it seem so routine that we wave an arm for hours, drive and fly all in the same uplink plane [ndr. l’invio del codice per l’esecuzione delle varie operazioni di drone e rover]. After completing the review of the awesome Sol 683-685 weekend schedule yesterday, I couldn’t help but think: This is pretty awesome!”.