How does Perseverance study rocks up close? NASA's answer.

06/02/2022
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera A.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech - Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera: NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image of the area in front of it using its onboard Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera A.

How does Perseverance study rocks up close? You may be wondering, well, NASA has answered. Each rock studied by Perseverance means a step forward in the discoveries of the planet Mars. Every sample studied, rock or whatever, will help us better understand this wonderful planet. 

First of all, we must mention that the Perseverance rover from the Mars2020 mission is equipped by NASA with high-performance instruments. One of the very important components of the rover is the robotic arm, The PIXL, and SHERLOC Spectrometers are attached to it. You will notice that through these, the rover measures the spectra and makes images of the Martian surface. This robotic arm also has a drill on it, which helps to collect samples, rocks, or free rocky material (regolith) from the surface of the planet. 

In short, the rover studies the rocks with all the instruments on the robotic arm, and then uses its drill to collect them. They are then studied by NASA before entering the rover. Once inside, they will stay there until NASA sends a mission to Mars to take all the rocks collected by Perseverance and bring them to Earth. 

Recently, the rover drilled into a rock called "Malay" in the Issole outcrop. As usual, some pebbles remained outside or in the collection tunnel without entering the rover. It made the situation a little more difficult, but then everything went perfectly. After everything was resolved, the team leading Perseverance took the rover 13.5 m further, to reach the ideal sampling location. 

NASA recently confirmed that a 3.075 cm long "Malay" core had been collected. Quite small, but enough to be analyzed. With this success, according to the plan, NASA will go north with Perseverance. 

About the continuation of the NASA mission on Mars (from the old article on the Bailey Universe):

NASA would like to return with Perseverence to the north, but in the region where it is now, the rover still has something to do before leaving for the north. Perseverance has been calibrated on the Issole outcrop and will resume the mission to collect rocks or pebbles from Mars, the second esnation from this location. And then he'll go back to north.

The NASA Perseverance team is definitely doing a great job. First of all, while Perseveremce is collecting some more rocks, the team is observing the western delta, which will be the next scientific operation of the Perseverence project. The team has so far managed to make observations on the Artuby ridge with the Mastcam-Z and SuperCam instruments. The image above is from SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager. Thanks to multiple observations made by NASA, it will be possible to create a 3D map of the outcrop, approx.

The mission so far has not only collected data on the surface of the planet or the rocks of the planet, but also data on atmospheric science. For example, between January 5-11, the rover collected data from a dust storm that passed through the sols 312-318 (January 5-11), coming from the region of Hellas, Mars.

Still, Perseverence clearly has a second sample to take from where it is now, and then it will return to the Artuby ridge, more precisely in the region "Rimplas", where NASA will conduct proximity science. After the rover completes its mission in the northern region, the team explores two possibilities:

1. Or the rover returns to Roubion, where the first sample has disintegrated, and the rover should try to take a new sample.

2. Or the rover to go and take a sample of the "Chal" member rocks, near the landing place, where there are massive and large rocks.

3. A small possibility to try both variant 1 and variant 2.

But NASA wants to get to the delta as quickly as possible, in a journey of many km. "Along the way, science observations may include investigations of the craters we pass throughout our journey to the delta. This could be particularly useful for understanding the sequence of events at Jezero crater, which may be revealed in exposures along the crater walls." said NASA. 

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 06 February 2022, at 01:15 am Los Angeles time

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