The hunt for rocky fragments of the Red Planet goes on: Perseverancethe rover NASA busy looking for ancient traces of microbial life since February 18, 2021, he just picked up another one sample from the Jezero craterarriving at altitude 13.
It was the rover himself who ‘communicated’ the news to his fans via his Twitter profile @NASAPersevere, announcing that it will take another sample from the same collection site. The crater, in fact, housed in the remote past a vast lake it’s a river delta: that’s why the mission team considers it the place most suitable to look for any signs of life.
While Perseverance the ‘collection’ of Martian fragments continues, the technicians are working on the next and ambitious phase of the program: the samples, in fact, will be brought to Earth in the early 30s of the current century by a type mission sample return that the NASA and theHex they are developing jointly.
The project provides that the rover ‘deliver’ the rocks to a Nasa lander equipped with a small pitcher. The vector will take the samples to the orbit of Mars where a Rendez Vous with a spacecraft of the ESA which will bring the precious material to Earth. Perseverance is harvesting two fragments for each rock selected for collection: a set of samples will remain in the ‘hold’ of the rover, while another set will come stored in one or more depots on the bottom of the crater Jezero. This option is a kind of ‘plan B’ in case the rover fails to deliver the rocks to the lander; the latter will take with him two small helicopterssimilar to Ingenuitywhich they were designed for collect the sample containers make deposits one by one if necessary.
A few days before the 13th harvest of Perseverancealso Ingenuity has ‘given the numbers’: the small helicopter, in fact, has reached the altitude of 33 flights starting from the historic debut of April 19, 2021. Ingenuity flew for 111 metersrising to a height of 10and got rid of some sort of debrissimilar to a spider’s web, which the technicians had noticed on one of its ‘legs’.
Above: Perseverance while collecting the 13th sample (Credits: Nasa / Jpl-Caltech)