These strikingly layered Mars rocks will be the Perseverance rover’s subsequent sampling goal.
Perseverance just lately snapped some good images of layered rocks on the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater, and mission staff members shared two of them Thursday (Nov. 4) through the rover’s official Twitter account.
“Get a load of these layers! I’m getting out my abrading tool to take a look inside. Layered rocks like this often form in water, and can hold clues about what their environment used to be like. Let’s see if this would be another good place for #SamplingMars,” mission staff members wrote in the Thursday tweet.
Collecting samples is among the core targets of Perseverance, which landed on the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18. The mission staff goals to snag a number of dozen tubes stuffed with pristine Mars materials, which might be returned to Earth by a joint NASA-European Space Agency marketing campaign, maybe as early as 2031.
Scientists in labs all over the world will then analyze the samples, in search of indicators of historic Mars life and clues about how the Red Planet has advanced over time.
Perseverance has collected two samples up to now. The NASA rover can also be in search of proof of life on Jezero’s flooring and characterizing the geology of the world, amongst different duties.
Perseverance solely just lately started work once more after a solar conjunction, throughout which the sun blocked Mars from the point of view of Earth, interrupting interplanetary communications for just a few weeks. Hints of the layered rocks filtered again to Earth simply over per week in the past, when the rover began beaming home images after the tip of solar conjunction.
Valuable context for the layered rocks might come from Perseverance’s flight accomplice, a bit helicopter named Ingenuity. Ingenuity additionally paused operations throughout conjunction however took to the air once more on Oct. 24, completing its 14th Martian flight.
It seems Perseverance hasn’t moved very far for the reason that finish of solar conjunction, as its distance driven on Mars — 1.66 miles (2.67 kilometers) — is unchanged from when it was first in a position to ship photographs again to Earth late final month. The rover staff usually pauses driving operations to carry out science at probably fascinating websites, such because the layered rocks Perseverance is now inspecting.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.