NASA shares new photos of Mars from the Perseverance rover’s rock sampling

Just another tough day on the Red Planet for NASA.

A new batch of photos from the space agency’s Perseverance rover introduces us to ‘Sid’, the last rock from Mars that was selected to be sampled as part of NASA’s mission to learn more about the planet and its history geological. The rover’s rendezvous with Sid marks an important milestone, as it will likely be the last sample collected before Perseverance moves to a new, previously unexplored location.

“I pulled out my abrasion tool again, to peek inside my next rocky target,” said one. tweet from NASA, written (as usual) in the rover’s voice, reads. “Mars is strikingly beautiful on its surface, and even more interesting below.”

Sid is inside Jezero Crater, the place on Mars where Perseverance landed in February 2021. It is one of the types of rock on Mars that NASA has dubbed “Ch’ał”, which is the Navajo word for “frog” (it’s pronounced “chesh”).

These Ch’ał rocks are found in a particular area of ​​the crater – which is believed to have once hosted a body of water – which NASA calls “Santa Cruz”. And this scientifically significant location as it may be a remnant of the West Jezero Delta, which is the next stop on the rover’s journey.

Sid is an example “of a taller rock that possibly represents a unique geological chapter in the history of the crater floor that we have not yet sampled,” wrote Purdue University student collaborator Brad Garczynski. , for NASA. He added that Sid was chosen as the rock of choice after “weeks of discussion” between the science team and rover planners.

The circular pattern you see in the image was created by the tools Perseverance uses to study rocks on Mars.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In the past, NASA has referred to rovers like Perseverance as “robot geologists.” When it comes to studying rocks, the rover uses a built-in abrasion tool to create the circular pattern you see in the image above.

This is important to the research process, as the exterior of any given Martian rock is impacted daily by the surrounding environment. The goal here is to investigate the geological history of the planet, and there may be clues to that history hidden beneath the dusty exterior of any Martian rock.


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