NASA's Mars Perseverance rover investigates an intriguing Martian bedrock

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover investigates an intriguing Martian bedrock

This picture of “Yori Go” was taken by a Hazcam imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on November 5, 2022.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Tantalizing alternatives for the science crew of the six-wheeler whereas exploring a sediment-rich spot in a

Mars is the second smallest planet in our photo voltaic system and the fourth planet from the solar. It is a dusty, chilly, desert world with a really skinny environment. Iron oxide is prevalent on the floor of Mars, therefore its reddish coloration and nickname "The crimson planet." The identify Mars comes from the Roman god of conflict.

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Scientists find the feature so tantalizing because it is sandstone, which is composed of fine grains that have been carried from elsewhere by water before settling and forming stone. Samples that Perseverance collects are central to the first step in the NASAESA (European Space Agency) Mars Sample Return campaign, which began in September 2021 when the rover cached its first cored rock.

This quick animation showcases key moments from NASA and ESA’s Mars Pattern Return marketing campaign, from touchdown on Mars and securing the pattern tubes to launching them from the floor and transporting them to Earth . Credit score: NASA/ESA/

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded analysis and growth facility that was established in 1936. It’s owned by NASA and operated by the California Institute of Know-how (Caltech). The laboratory’s major operate is the development and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft, though it additionally conducts Earth orbit and astronomy missions. He’s additionally chargeable for working NASA’s Deep House Community. JPL pursues applications in planetary exploration, earth science, house astronomy, and expertise growth, whereas making use of its capabilities to technical and scientific problems with nationwide significance.

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“We often prioritize study of fine-grained sedimentary rocks like this one in our search for organics and potential biosignatures,” said Katie Stack Morgan, Perseverance deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California. “What’s especially interesting about the Yori Pass outcrop is that it is laterally equivalent with ‘Hogwallow Flats,’ where we found very fine-grained sedimentary rocks. That means that the rock bed is located at the same elevation as Hogwallow, and has a large, traceable footprint visible on the surface.”

Mars Perseverance Sol 472

Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera on June 18, 2022 (Sol 472). The rocks at Hogwallow Flats appear to be very fine-grained, which is exciting to scientists on the mission as fine-grained rocks may have the best chance at preserving evidence of life. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

One of the Perseverance rover’s four science objectives is the hunt at Jezero Crater for biosignatures (any characteristic, molecule, element, substance, or feature that can serve as evidence for ancient life). Along with its 14 rock-core samples, the rover has collected three witness tubes and one atmospheric sample, all of which are stored in the rover’s belly.

After it collects a sample from Yori Pass, Perseverance will drive 745 feet (227 meters) southeast to a mega sand ripple. Located in the middle of a small dune field, the ripple – called “Observation Mountain” by the science team – will be where the rover collects its first samples of regolith, or crushed rock and dust.

More About the Mission

One of the key objectives for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including caching samples that may contain signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

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