The samples Apollo 11 brought back to Earth from the Moon were humanity’s first from another celestial body. NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will collect the first samples from another planet (the red one) for return to Earth by subsequent missions. In place of astronauts, the Perseverance rover will rely on the most complex, capable and cleanest mechanism ever to be sent into space, the Sample Caching System.
In this image taken on May 20, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center, engineers and technicians insert 39 sample tubes into the belly of the rover. Each tube is sheathed in a gold-colored cylindrical enclosure to protect it from contamination. Perseverance rover will carry 43 sample tubes to the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech