The solar conjunction – a period when the sun is between Earth and Mars – began on October 2, which cut off NASA’s communications with the rover. This blackout ended on October 19, and Perseverance immediately resumed searching for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.
One of the rover’s main goals is to collect rock and soil samples on Mars that will be returned to Earth on future missions. He’s already collected two samples and used the help of the Ingenuity helicopter, acting as an aerial scout, to find his next sample-worthy targets.
Since October 25, Perseverance has investigated certain rocky outcrops in the southern region of the planet Séítah, which are of interest to the rover’s scientific team on Earth. The rover has an abrasive tool on its robotic arm that can scrape rock layers to peek inside those rocks.
“Layered rocks like this often form in water and can hold clues about their surroundings. Let’s see if this would be another good place for #SamplingMars, ”read an article from the rover’s Facebook account, managed by NASA, on November 4.
“I look inside to look at something that no one has ever seen. I abraded a small portion of this rock to remove the surface layer and take a peek underneath. I’m focusing on my next target for #SamplingMars, ”the Perseverance Facebook account posted on November 9.
The mineral content of rocks in Jezero Crater, which was once the site of a lake 3.7 billion years ago, acts as an ancient, untouched time capsule. They can tell scientists how rocks formed and what the climate was like at the time. It could give a big picture of what the lake and its delta looked like when the planet was warmer and wetter – and potentially habitable.
Looks like Perseverance is preparing to collect a sample of the abraded rock to see what Martian secrets South Séítah might reveal.
“Perseverance and his team have come a long way in the last 8 months of operation on the surface of Mars,” wrote David Pedersen, co-investigator of the rover’s PIXL instrument at the Technical University of Denmark, in a recent Perseverance blog post. “Now it’s part of the normal mission routine for the rover to collect rock samples and perform proximity science using the instruments mounted on the turret that sits at the end of the arm / robotic manipulator. “