NASA body Persistence Rover It has landed on a rich scientific hunting ground, if looking around carefully is any clue.
Vehicle size Perseverance landed on the ground of the Jezero Crater On February 18, an ambitious surface mission was launched that will look for signs of ancient Martian life and collect samples for future returns to Earth, among other missions.
Diligence was not ready to study this scientific work; The mission team is still conducting health and condition checks on various tools and subsystems. But the six-wheeled robot recently used a series of Mastcam-Z cameras to capture images in high definition. 360 degree panorama around itThis first taste attracted the interest of the mission team.
Live update: NASA Mars research mission
For example, Panoramas that can be enlarged Mastcam-Z principal investigator Jim Bell of the Arizona State University College of Earth and Space Exploration revealed, during an online discussion of the image on Thursday (Feb. 25), that he uncovered the black rock that the “Harbor Seal Stone” team called.
Bell said that the Martian winds may have carved Harbor Seal Rock into its bizarre shape over the centuries. He also points to a stain that shows evidence of much faster wear – where the impeller operates The “Sky Crane” drop stage to survive He detonated the red dust cap of Mars on February 18, revealing a small rocky surface.
One of these places contains a collection of brightly colored rock and a heavy crater that attracts the attention of mission scientists.
“Is this volcanic rock? Is this carbon rock? Is this another rock? Is there a layer? ” Said Bill. “We don’t know – we don’t have any chemical or mineral data on it yet – but, boy, it must be interesting, and part of the story of what happened here will be told as we get more detailed information on this rock and some of the other materials. “In this area”.
This is one of the main functions of the Mastcam-Z and other Perseverance cameras – to discover interesting features that perseverance can study in greater detail with spectrometers and other scientific tools, Bell said.
Jezero Crater Island, which is 28 miles (45 km) wide, was home to deep lakes and river deltas billions of years ago. The delta region is good at preserving signs of life on Earth, so the persistence team wants to study and test the remnants of that feature inside Jezero. And the delta is visible in the Mastcam-Z panorama; Bell said the slope was about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the Perseverance landing site.
He added, the crest line seen behind the delta slopes in the Mastcam-Z panorama is the edge of the Jezero Crater.
This recently revealed photo is only the beginning. For starters, this is the most inaccurate panoramic photo the Mastcam-Z team will ever make. Bell said a similar shot that was three times sharper would compile after diligence switching to his surface improvement program, a four-day process already underway.
And we haven’t gotten the slightest taste of the discovery of scientific persistence. This job will be time consuming, as the mission team’s first big task once the rover is up and running is to conduct a 4-pound test flight. (1.8 kg) Mars helicopter creativityRidden to the red planet in the belly of perseverance.
Expedition team members say pioneering Ingenuity sorties – the first helicopter flight to outer space – is likely to take place this spring, and science and sampling are expected to begin in earnest in the summer.
Mike Wall is a writerAbroad“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.