A sample depot on Mars and a stunning green comet top our collection of space pictures from January 2023.
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is collecting samples that will be brought back to Earth and studied for signs of past life. The current plan is for Perseverance to deliver samples directly to a future lander and ascent vehicle. But in case that can’t happen, the rover dropped 10 backup samples in a location within Jezero Crater known as Three Forks. Small helicopters similar to Ingenuity, which completed its 40th flight this month, could carry the samples back to the lander.
Closer to home, a comet has graced Earth’s skies. Comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) will make its closest approach to Earth on February 1, and is currently visible through binoculars or a telescope. Astrophotographers around the world have captured images of the comet’s stunning green coma.
Here are some other images that grabbed our attention this month: