Mars Rover celebrates construction of storage facility on Mars with haughty selfie

NASA’s Perseverance rover has good reason to be proud. It is completing the construction of the first sample storage facility on another planet. Containers with samples of Martian rock and stones valuable for science are stored in a reliable storage on the surface of Mars. During operation, the rover took a selfie next to one test tube with samples.

The Perseverance rover poses for a selfie next to a test tube with samples during the construction of the first storage facility on another planet. Photo: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Kevin M. Gill

The rover’s selfie is formed from several images connected into one whole. Perseverance sent the images on January 22. NASA astronomers have published raw photos so far, but later the agency will show an improved and detailed selfie.

Storage for Mars Sample Return

Construction of the storage facility began in December 2022. It is not a building or a hole, but rather represents 10 containers scattered in a certain sequence on the surface of Mars, the location of which has been marked for easier search by future missions. Most of the test tubes contain small, chalk-sized samples of Martian rocks collected in the Jezero crater.

The storage is a backup plan for the upcoming Mars Sample Return mission. This is a complex and ambitious attempt to return samples to Earth in the 2030s for more detailed study with more modern instruments. NASA hopes Perseverance will still be operational when the MSR arrives, so it can deliver samples to the lander itself, which will simplify the task. If trouble happens to the rover, then the mission will send two small helicopters to the sample storage to pick up the containers.

Search for evidence of life

The Jezero crater has an intriguing history. This place was once filled with water from the delta river, which flowed into the lake on the crater. Rock samples from the delta region are particularly fascinating. Scientists hoped that they would let us understand whether there was once microbial life on Mars. Therefore, such a project with the completion of the construction of a sample storage is worth celebrating with a Martian selfie.

Earlier we reported on how Perseverance celebrated its first Martian birthday.

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