Now, Hengxin is preparing to carry out its main mission: studying Jezero Crater and looking for signs of ancient life on Mars.
About 3.9 billion years ago, the crater was filled with a lake fed by a delta. Now, the rocks scattered on the dry lake bed can help scientists reconstruct the history of the area on Mars and determine whether life exists there.
The information locked inside the rock can reveal more about when the lake formed and dried and when delta deposits began to accumulate. Creating a timeline corresponding to the rock will help researchers determine the date of rock samples collected by the mobile station in the next two years. These samples will be returned to Earth through future missions, which may contain microfossils, which can preserve the existence of ancient organisms.
Recent images taken by the rover show rocks and pebbles scattered on the bottom of the crater and the Santa Cruz Mountains about 1
Jezero is about 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide and located north of the Martian equator. The location is 2,300 miles (3700 kilometers) from the Greiosity landing site at Gale Crater.
Rover’s SuperCam Research Rock
Determining the type of rock in the area is the key. If they are sediments like sandstone, they are likely to be formed around the water and may contain minerals, sand, silt or clay, which retain the signs of previous lives called biological characteristics.
Igneous rocks formed by volcanic activity, like time stamps, can accurately show when they were formed.
These rocks are exposed to wind and radiation over time and are covered with a layer of dust. In the wild, geologists will open a rock to learn more.
Ken Farley, a scientist at the Perseverance Program at the California Institute of Technology, said in a statement: “When you look in a rock, you can see this story.”
Perseverance cannot hit the rocks around it with a hammer, but it does have a tool called a “grinder” on its mechanical arm that can smooth the surface of the rock.
The instruments on the rover can then peer into the rock to learn more about the chemicals and minerals contained in the rock.
Farley said, “The more rocks you look at, the more you know.”
The more the team knows, the better the samples they will eventually collect with the drill on the rover’s arm.
The answer is in the mud and rocks?
Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, and while helping the Ingenuity helicopter find its first airfield, it discovered a large number of nearby rocks. This helicopter has entered a new stage, during which it will demonstrate its ability in the next 30 days to fly to the new airport and act like a scout without interfering with the scientific operation of the rover.
Perseverance will be spent in the next few hundred Sol or Martian days, exploring the 1.24 mile (2 km) patch of the Jezero Crater floor. Members of the Wanderer science team believe that they will find some of the oldest materials on the red planet in the crater.
“These rocks are likely to be mudstones. They used to be mud at the bottom of the lake. It is very important for our investigation because this is the environment that we think is most likely to be inhabited by organisms that existed on Mars billions of years ago. The ability to preserve biological characteristics for a billion years,” Farley said.
The wanderers will collect three to four samples in the area and then drive northwest to reach the ancient, dry river delta.
Before starting the collection, Perseverance needs to perform some more checks to prepare its sampling system and driving ability. Jennifer Trosper, deputy manager of JPL’s Perseverance Wanderer project, said the team estimates that Perseverance will collect the first batch of samples in July.
Ingenuity will end flight operations no later than the end of August, which will enable the rover team to complete its scientific activities and prepare for a communication blackout between Mars and Earth in mid-October, when the two planets are located opposite Mars. sun.