NASA’s Mars rover, perseveranceshared remarkable images of different rock formations on his next scouting site.
The rocks are located in the area of an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater which scientists believe has the best chance of containing evidence of any past microbial life. on the red planet.
In a message posted to Perseverance’s Twitter account, the rover said there were “tons of potential targets to investigate”, describing its surroundings as “a haven for rock nerds like me”.
One particularly striking image (above) appears to show a bolder perched on a large rock, while others show various layered rock formations in great detail.
I mean, take a look at some of these close-ups. Tons of potential targets to study. Paradise for rock fans like me. pic.twitter.com/0uEHHVvZds
— NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover (@NASAPersevere) June 16, 2022
According to the Perseverance team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California, the delta includes a wide variety of fan-shaped rocks and sediments that formed where a river met. and a crater lake billions of years ago.
He said the delta was the main reason the team landed Perseverance at Jezero Crater last year.
“It has a lot of cool features,” said Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology, who is also involved in the rover’s current mission to Mars. “We will be looking for signs of ancient life in the rocks at the base of the delta, rocks that we believe were once mud at the bottom of Lake Jezero.”
Higher in the delta, Perseverance will head to examine fragments of sand and rock from upstream, perhaps from places miles away that the rover will never explore. “We can tap into an ancient Martian river that brought us the planet’s geological secrets,” Farley said.
Perseverance has already collected Martian soil in other areas of interest, and during its exploration of the delta it is expected to collect eight more samples. The material will be sent back to Earth on another mission, allowing scientists to use powerful lab equipment to confirm whether life ever existed on the distant planet.
“The Jezero Crater Delta promises to be a veritable geological feast and one of the best places on Mars to look for signs of past microscopic life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “The answers are out there, and Team Perseverance is ready to find them.”
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