The Perseverance rover has sent new images from Mars to Earth. The entire structure during its journey came across a boulder, which is located in the Jezero crater on the Red Planet. What else can you see in the photography?
NASA has received new images from the Perseverance rover, which sends them back to Earth from the surface of Mars on a regular basis. This time, the rover spotted a large boulder located in the crater of Jezero. Scientists note that at first glance it is very similar to volcanic rocks on Earth. The large, undulating rock is said to resemble a walrus in appearance.
A wider view of the boulder comes from one of the cameras mounted on the rover’s mast. Perseverance also used images from the SuperCamcamera to zoom in on the photo for detail. The boulder itself visible in the photo is about 2 meters wide.
While the boulder itself is eye-catching, it is not the rover’s primary purpose. Perseverance is meant to track down materials and evidence that will answer the question of whether life could have been found on Mars in the past.
We can expect to see more of these types of images in the future. Perseverance has shown, however, that it can easily explore various elements of the Red Planet.
What is the task of the rover and the entire mission?
Perseverance is initially expected to operate for one Martian year (687 Earth days). During that time, it is expected to conceal dozens of drilled rock samples in small tubes that will be left on the surface. NASA and ESA have developed a multibillion-dollar plan to go after these cylinders at the end of the decade. It will be an elaborate undertaking involving a second rover, a Mars rocket and a huge satellite that will deliver the materials from Jezero back home.
The rover uses 25 cameras, the most of any rover – 19 embedded on the rover, three on the shield during landing, two on the drone and one on the landing module. Perseverance measures 2.7 by 2 by 2.2 meters and has a launch mass of 1,025 kg. It is the first Martian rover with a microphone array, as well as a special Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. The drone can hover at a height of five meters and away from the rover a maximum of about 50 meters.
Even if Perseverance discovers something that looks like a biosignature, the potential evidence of life will almost certainly be questioned – as will claims of ancient traces of life on Earth. Bringing the rocks down for further, more advanced analysis will likely be the only way to settle any disputes about ancient biology on the Red Planet. The rover will also conduct analyses with an eye toward a future manned mission to Mars, another important step in humanity’s conquest of space.