back to article Perseverance rover drops off first sample tube on surface of Mars

A titanium tube that looks a bit like a steampunk telescope has been dropped off by the plucky Perseverance rover, stuffed with a Mars rock sample that NASA astrobiologists are hoping might reveal traces of ancient microbial life. But before the most difficult part – sending spacecraft from Earth to Mars to collect the sealed …

  1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

    Oh yes I see now...

    someone has dropped their Light sabre...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Oh yes I see now...

      I'm thinking about a coin operated robot trundling up huffing about foreigners coming over here and leaving litter (a la "A Grand Day Out"). Where did we leave those sample tubes again?

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

        Re: Oh yes I see now...

        Wensleydale lad?

    3. Black Label
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Oh yes I see now...

      2023 will be a great year. China and Russia are great explorers. Never USA.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh yes I see now...

        Explorers or exploders.

        It’s an easy mistake to make.

        1. Black Label
          Black Helicopters

          Explorers or exploders?

          Explorers or exploders? Is there any difference?

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Oh yes I see now...

      Actually this reminded me of a DIFFERENT kind of "dropping".

      Here Rover, good boy! Now where did I put that disposable glove... oh that's right it's on the next rocket!

  2. Dev_Fit

    What if Perseverance loses power and the backup tube slips out of new lander's grip and rolls down the ridge?

  3. BOFH in Training

    Covered by dust storms

    How long before that tube (and the others) get covered by dust storms?

    I understand they are relatively common in Mars.

    Can they be found easily if they are under a coating of dust? Or will they become buried treasure for somebody else to dig out in the far future?

    1. Sleep deprived

      Re: Covered by dust storms

      Just in case, to ease recovery, those tubes are fitted with an AirTag.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Covered by dust storms

      At well chosen locations in Jezero the dust activity is quite low.

      Sandstorms are quite common in some sandy desert areas on Earth but quite rare in the English Lake District.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Covered by dust storms

        But rain is very common in the English Lake District. That can carry dust particles in it, and over time, those get deposited where the rain lands.

        Obviously not relevant to Mars, but leaves tend to fall on things as well, and rot. And that leads to stuff getting buried.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Covered by dust storms

      If this was a film or TV show, or even a documentary with a CGI simulation, those sample tubes would have a strobe flash and beeping sound with no indication of how they are going to be powered for a decade or more, not to mention the problems of transmitting the beeps through the near vacuum of the Martian atmosphere :-)

  4. Red Ted
    Thumb Up

    A cute gif showing...

    ...that even JPL Rocket Scientists end up, at some point, crawling around in the dirt under a truck!

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    Can imagine these conversation amongst the engineers:

    engineer1: (takes a puff) Yeah and we create the sample dumping site... oh man I am getting munchies... let's call it three forks yeah. mmm

    engineer2: I thought you said dumpling site... ahh... so okay, we got the samples dropped then what's next? (takes a puff) let's make the sample tubes out of titanium and let's drop a lot of them and then let's have samples inside rover too you know?

    engineer3: guys hang on a minute (takes a puff) how are we going to get these tubes to earth?

    engineer1: that's easy. That lander's job will be to take the samples and use its robotic arm to place them in a containment capsule aboard a small rocket that would then blast off to Mars orbit. If Perseverance can't deliver its samples, a pair of Sample Recovery Helicopters will have to go pick the backup samples up, and then go back to the lander to be placed into the rocket-mounted capsule. Once the capsule is in orbit, the plan is for another spacecraft to capture the sample container and return it safely to Earth. (takes a puff)

    engineer2, engineer3: whoaaaa

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Spliff

      Is that the same team of engineers who came up with the idea of, "yeah, it'll scream through the atmosphere at interplanetary speed, slow down enough for parachutes to be deployed (Yeah guys, I know how thin the atmosphere is, bear with me), then, a few hundred feet before it crashes into the ground, we drop it!! But, wait for it guys, the bit we drop has ROCKETS on it and it'll hover about 30 feet from the ground and lower the rover on a rope to the ground!"

      Rest of team: whoaaaa, shit man, can we have some of what you're smoking?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...but if a perpendicular dropoff does happen to a subsequent tube, JPL said it had written a series of commands directing Perseverance to carefully knock the tube over using part of the turret at the end of its robotic arm."

    The command is named "I dunno, try hitting it and see if it falls over"

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      A bit of percussive persuasion?

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      They could label the command "POKE".

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        And then run PEEK to check if it succeeded?

  7. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Some Martian ...

    .. sanitation worker is probably following Perseverence, binning these things and muttering under his breath about G.. D... litterbugs.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Some Martian ...

      Have The Wombles (of Wimbledon Common) colonised Mars? They are sure to pick up these

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My doctor

    ....asked for a stool sample once.

    He was in awe that it landed perpendicular. It was slightly soft though, so had a whippy look about it.

    Anon because........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My doctor

      A couple of weeks ago, I delivered 3 sample tubes to the Vet. They contained samples of diarrhoea that my Cat squirted out over 3 consecutive days.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    Crowd sourced funding

    When it’s time for collection, send up one of those “claw” amusement machines.

    Open it up to the Internet.

    “Grab the sample tube, $5 a go or 3 for $10.”

  10. John Doe 12

    Martian Junkies

    Well to me that looks like an abandoned syringe - as seen in many street corners of the British Isles :-D

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Martian Junkies

      The first thing I thought of on seeing the photo in some news service (not ElReg) was: that's a fancy rawl bolt, strange item to leave for some future alien to discover and determine there was once intelligent life here...

      1. Black Label
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Martian Junkies

        Seriously advanced and intelligent civilizations tend to take millenniums to be erased from history, junkie or sober. But truly intelligent, nevertheless.

        Enough said, the majority of keyboard warriors are the "nerdy" types. I prefer the keyboard warriors who can also handle pistols and explosives, better yet the ones who can integrate all that into real defense products to earn some millions. Monthly.

  11. herman


    In a few thousand years, archeologists will be perplexed by the elusive religious purpose of these artifacts from a long gone prehistoric society.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Archeology

      Ancient batteries man!

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