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Perseverance: Nasa Mars rover collects 'amazing' rock samples - BBC

Perseverance: Nasa Mars rover collects 'amazing' rock samples - BBC

Perseverance: Nasa Mars rover collects 'amazing' rock samples - BBC
Sep 18, 2022 1 min, 29 secs

The Nasa robot has collected a diverse set of rock samples that it will soon deposit on the surface, awaiting carriage to Earth by later missions.

This ancient history, scientists hope, is now recorded in the "amazing" rock samples that will be laid down in "a depot" in the next couple of months.

"If [Jezero's ancient] conditions existed pretty much anywhere on Earth at any point in time over the last 3.5 billion years, I think it's safe to say, or at least assume, that biology would have done its thing and left its mark in these rocks for us to observe," said David Shuster, a Perseverance mission scientist from the University of California, Berkeley.

The other part of the cache will include sedimentary type rocks that Perseverance has been collecting in recent months from the delta deposits in the western sector of the 45km-wide crater.

For the last four months, Perseverance has been working on the 40m-high scarp that represents the edge of the delta.

"It would then take about two months to probably put those samples down and actually carefully document where they are, so that a future mission can actually find them.".

It may be that this first depot dropped by Perseverance becomes an insurance back-up, to be collected for return to Earth only if the rover suffers a catastrophic failure on the rest of its mission.

Lori Glaze, the director of Nasa's planetary science division, lauded the "incredible Perseverance team" for the mission achievements so far.

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