NASA’s latest Martian rover, Perseverance, just finished stockpiling a depot of samples in a portion of Jezero Crater called Three Forks. Part of Perseverance’s mission is to collect and deliver core samples of rocks and soil for a future analysis of ancient microbial life at the Sample Retrieval Lander (launching in 2028). If the rover is unable to drop off its onboard samples at the lander site, the Three Forks depot is stocked and ready with backups. The depot consists of ten tubes of samples – doubles of the samples aboard the rover – placed 15 to 50 feet apart. If Perseverance is unable to deliver its personal sample stash, a pair of small Mars helicopters based on the Martian chopper Ingenuity will transport the depot’s vials one at a time.
With the Three Forks depot completed, Perseverance is starting its next mission, the Delta Top Campaign, heading up Jezero Crater’s river delta to examine rocks further upstream. As a contributor to Perseverance’s ground software, Red Canyon is delighted to watch the Martian rover climb to greater heights. Check out the links below to learn more about Perseverance and its next mission!