These strikingly layered Mars rocks stands out as the Perseverance rover’s subsequent sampling goal.
Perseverance not too long ago snapped some good photos of layered rocks on the ground of Mars’ Jezero Crater, and mission crew members shared two of them Thursday (Nov. 4) by way of 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 crew 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 crew goals to snag a number of dozen tubes stuffed with pristine Mars materials, which can be returned to Earth by a joint NASA-European Space Agency marketing campaign, maybe as early as 2031.
Scientists in labs world wide will then analyze the samples, on the lookout for indicators of historical 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 on the lookout for proof of life on Jezero’s ground and characterizing the geology of the realm, amongst different duties.
Perseverance solely not too long ago started work once more after a solar conjunction, throughout which the solar blocked Mars from the perspective of Earth, interrupting interplanetary communications for a number of weeks. Hints of the layered rocks filtered again to Earth simply over a week in the past, when the rover began beaming home images after the tip of solar conjunction.
Valuable context for the layered rocks may come from Perseverance’s flight accomplice, just a little 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 because the 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 crew usually pauses driving operations to carry out science at doubtlessly attention-grabbing websites, such because the layered rocks Perseverance is now inspecting.
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.