NASA’s Mars Rover, perseverancehas shared some remarkable images of different rock formations on his next scouting site.
The rocks are located in the area of an ancient river delta within Jezero Crater that 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 for study,” describing its surroundings as “a haven for rock nerds like me.”
One particularly striking image (above) appears to show a bolder perched on a larger boulder, 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 for study. Paradise for rock nerds like myself. pic.twitter.com/0uEHHVvZds
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 16, 2022
According to the Perseverance team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California, the delta comprises a huge variety of fan-shaped rocks and sediments that formed at the meeting point of a river and a crater lake billions of years ago.
He said the delta was the main reason the team landed Perseverance in Jezero Crater last year.
“It has a lot of interesting features,” said Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology, who is also involved in the current rover mission to Mars. “We will look for signs of ancient life in the rocks at the base of the delta, rocks that we think were once mud at the bottom of Lake Jezero.”
Further up the delta, Perseverance will head to examine sand and rock fragments that came from upstream, possibly 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 from other areas of interest, and during its exploration of the delta it is expected to collect eight additional samples. The material will be returned to Earth in another mission, allowing scientists to use powerful laboratory equipment to confirm whether life ever existed on the distant planet.
“The delta at Jezero Crater promises to be a true geological feast and one of the best places on Mars to search 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.”