According to this Wikipedia article the NASA-ESA plan includes a sample retrieval mission with a fetch rover landing in 2029 on Mars to collect the samples left behind by the Perseverance rover at the depot.
There should be time and expertise enough to equip such an ESA made fetch rover with the ExoMars drill unit, already been built and tested for the now for many years delayed ExoMars astrobiology programme.
The drill unit would have its own cache with samples along with Perseverance's caches to be delivered to the Mars Ascent Vehicle .
To get the most out of the drill unit, the fetch rover should probably arrive two years earlier than planned at Jezero crater.

Imagine, for instance, that the ExoMars drill unit sitting on top of the Jezero fan-delta deposit rich in clays, could go 2 m. deep in the subsurface and take samples of many of the sediment layers put down in millions of years time !

Question: Can it be reasoned, backed up with scientific articles, that the Mars sample return mission would get much more scientific value with the fetch rover equipped with an ExoMars drill unit ?

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    $\begingroup$ To properly identify valuable drill sites, you'd need the scientific equipment on Perseverance... so I highly doubt that the fetch rover will be equipped with this machinery. After all you'd be sending just another heavy Perseverance-like machine there. You want the fetch rover to be a light machine however. $\endgroup$ Jun 6 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see a question here. Are you asking whether it's feasible? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Jun 6 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ Moving up the expected launch time of a mission and adding components to it is a recipe for trouble. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jun 6 at 16:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence Only the launch time for the fetch rover would have to be changed from 2029 to 2027 and the extra component is already been built and tested. I think the fetch rover is still in its early development stage. But without changing that date, there could still be enough time for the drill unit to go to places that have been examined already by Perseverance and promise good results. $\endgroup$
    – Cornelis
    Jun 6 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ The drill itself might have been tested internally, but has it been tested with the fetch rover hardware and software? Has the rover been (re)designed with its power, space, and physical requirements in mind? Have they verified that it won't interfere with any other instruments on the rover (or vice versa)? These aren't plug-and-play technologies, and adding instrumentation to a mission takes a lot of engineering work. $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Jun 6 at 19:30


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