During its two-year and three-month expedition to Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover has been a busy science laboratory on Mars. It detected signs of past chemical reactions, began construction of a Martian stone reservoir, and recorded the first Dust Devil audio.
[Related: Mars’s barren Jezero crater had a wet and dramatic past.]
Here are some recent highlights from this month’s Six Wheel Scientist.
Collect Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z Equipment 152 images peeking deep into the Belva Crater. Belva is a large impact crater within the much larger Jezero Crater, where Perseverance landed in 2021. The new images are not only dramatic to look at, but they also provide the science team with new insights into the interior of Jezero Crater.
“Mars rover missions typically involve exploring bedrock in a small, flat area in the workspace in close proximity to the rover,” says Katie Perseverance Associate Project Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. says Stack Morgan. said in a statement. “That’s why our scientific team was so passionate about imaging and studying Velva. Impact craters offer important insights into the origins of these rocks at a perspective and scale that we don’t normally experience.” It offers spectacular views and vertical cuts that provide clues.”
According to NASA, this is like a geology professor on Earth taking his students to a “road cut” on a highway. These are where rock formations and other geological features are visible after construction crews slice the rock vertically. Belva Crater represents a natural road cut on Mars.
The probe took the image April 22 – Mission 772nd Mars Day, or “Sol”Just west of the rim of Velva Crater, it was parked on a brightly colored rocky stretch of what the Perseverance science team called “Echo Creek.” This 0.6-mile-wide crater was formed by a meteorite impact in the distant past, and shows several locations with downward-sloping regions of exposed bedrock and sedimentary layers.
These steep “dip layers” potentially big martian sandbar It was deposited by a channel feeding an ancient lake that was once located in Jezero Crater. The scientific team believes that the large rocks in the crater’s foreground are chunks of bedrock exposed by a meteorite impact, or that rocks may have been carried into the crater by long-dead river systems. increase.
NASA said the research team will continue to search for answers by comparing features found in bedrock near the rover to larger rock formations visible on the walls of the crater in the distance.
Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z equipment also took some strain New images may show traces of ancient Martian rivers. Some evidence indicates that this rocky river was probably very deep and incredibly fast. This now-dried river was part of a network of channels that flowed into Jezero Crater.
[Related: Name a better duo than NASA’s hard-working Mars rover and helicopter.]
A better understanding of these watery environments could allow scientists to discover traces of ancient microbes that may have been preserved in reddish rocks on Mars.
The rover is exploring the top of an 820-foot-high fan-shaped sedimentary rock with curved layers that indicate that water once flowed there. Scientists want to know whether water flowed into relatively shallow rivers, such as those NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence at Gale Crater, or if Jezero Crater was a more powerful river system. I believe.
Stitched together, the images come together like a patchwork quilt, with coarse sediment grains and cobbles providing further evidence of a raging river.
“These show that high-energy rivers are carrying large amounts of debris. The stronger the water flow, the easier it can move larger materials,” said NASA Jet Propulsion. said Libby Ives, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute. said in a statement.
Ives has a background in studying Earth’s rivers and has spent the past six months analyzing images of the surface of Mars. “It was great to see rocks from another planet and see familiar processes,” Ives said.
Both of these findings are useful Perseverance’s astrobiological mission This includes searching for traces of ancient microbial life. The rover will continue to characterize and study the geology and past climate of Mars, pave the way for human exploration of Mars, and is also the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and regolith.