NASA's Perseverance rover has already collected enough samples to tell us if Mars was ever habitable. "They're already worth the $10bn investment" says @Dr_ThomasZWe just need to go and get them.Words by me @SciAm
New images from @NASAPersevere may show evidence of what was once a wild and deep river on Mars. The observations are leading scientists to rethink how ancient water once flowed on the Red Planet.
May 11, 2023Images From NASA’s Perseverance May Show Record of Wild Martian River Evidence left in rocks is leading scientists to rethink what watery environments looked like on ancient Mars.New images taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover may show signs of what was once a rollicking river on Mars, one that was deeper and faster-moving than scientists have ever seen evidence for in the past. The river was part of a network of waterways that flowed into Jezero Crater, the area the rover has been exploring since landing more than two years ago.Understanding these watery environments could help scientists in their efforts to seek out signs of ancient microbial life that may have been preserved in Martian rock.Perseverance is exploring the top of a fan-shaped pile of sedimentary rock that stands 820 feet (250 meters) tall and features curving layers suggestive of flowing water. One question scientists want to answer is whether that water flowed in relatively shallow streams – closer to what NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence of in Gale Crater – or a more powerful river system.Stitched together from hundreds of images captured by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z instrument, two new mosaics suggest the latter, revealing important clues: coarse sediment grains and cobbles.“Those indicate a high-energy river that’s truckin’ and carrying a lot of debris. The more powerful the flow of water, the more easily it’s able to move larger pieces of material,” said Libby Ives, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which operates the Perseverance rover. With a background in studying Earth-based rivers, Ives has spent the last six months analyzing images of the Red Planet’s surface. “It’s been a delight to look at rocks on another planet and see processes that are so familiar,” Ives said.Following the CurvesYears ago, scientists noticed a series of curving bands of layered rock within Jezero Crater that they dubbed “the curvilinear unit.” They could see these layers from space but are finally able to see them up close, thanks to Perseverance.One location within the curvilinear unit, nicknamed “Skrinkle Haven,” is captured in one of the new Mastcam-Z mosaics. Scientists are sure the curved layers here were formed by powerfully flowing water, but Mastcam-Z’s detailed shots have left them debating what kind: a river such as the Mississippi, which winds snakelike across the landscape, or a braided river like Nebraska’s Platte, which forms small islands of sediment called sandbars.When viewed from the ground, the curved layers appear arranged in rows that ripple out across the landscape. They could be the remnants of a river’s banks that shifted over time – or the remnants of sandbars that formed in the river. The layers were likely much taller in the past. Scientists suspect that after these piles of sediment turned to rock, they were sandblasted by wind over the eons and carved down to their present size.“The wind has acted like a scalpel that has cut the tops off these deposits,” said Michael Lamb of Caltech, a river specialist and Perseverance science team collaborator. “We do see deposits like this on Earth, but they’re never as well exposed as they are here on Mars. Earth is covered in vegetation that hides these layers.”A second mosaic captured by Perseverance shows a separate location that is part of the curvilinear unit and about a quarter mile (450 meters) from Skrinkle Haven. “Pinestand” is an isolated hill bearing sedimentary layers that curve skyward, some as high as 66 feet (20 meters). Scientists think these tall layers may also have been formed by a powerful river, although they’re exploring other explanations, as well.“These layers are anomalously tall for rivers on Earth,” Ives said. “But at the same time, the most common way to create these kinds of landforms would be a river.”The team is continuing to study Mastcam-Z’s images for additional clues. They’re also peering below the surface, using the ground-penetrating radar instrument on Perseverance called RIMFAX (short for Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment). What they learn from both instruments will contribute to an ever-expanding body of knowledge about Mars’ ancient, watery past.“What’s exciting here is we’ve entered a new phase of Jezero’s history. And it’s the first time we’re seeing environments like this on Mars,” said Perseverance’s deputy project scientist, Katie Stack Morgan of JPL. “We’re thinking about rivers on a different scale than we have before.”More About the MissionA key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.For more about Perseverance:mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/Andrew GoodJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.818-393-2433[email protected]Karen Fox / Alana JohnsonNASA Headquarters, Washington301-286-6284 / 202-358-1501[email protected] / [email protected]2023-067Last Updated: May 11, 2023Editor: Tony GreiciusTags: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars, Moon to Mars, Perseverance Mars Rover
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this scene at a location nicknamed “Skrinkle Haven” using its Mastcam-Z camera between Feb. 28 and March 9, 2023.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this mosaic of a hill nicknamed “Pinestand.” Scientists think the tall sedimentary layers stacked on top of one another here could have been formed by a deep, fast-moving river.Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
Checking up on our robotic Martian explorers, gathering data on the planet, along with paving the way for future human arrivals.Bella Richards (@bellaa_richards) with the round-up:
As promised, here’s the new Image of the Week, as voted by you! This rocky duo was spotted hanging out together in a wind-swept area. I spy a…crab claw? Shark fin? Comment below with what you see!📸 See more Images of the Week:
I just collected my 22nd sample! My team wants samples from this key spot, which is rich in minerals laid down by past water billions of years ago. #SamplingMars continues…
Have they ever released data from the RIMFAX instrument? (the ground penetrating radar)
Over 1,000 sols into their mission, Perseverance and Ingenuity are continuing to investigate Jezero Crater and collecting samples during their travels.The pair are now moving to the crater's margin, where they will begin their fourth science campaign ⬇️
Perseverance Rover Zooms in on Ancient Mars RiverNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory27 Dec 2023After 1,000 Martian days of exploration, NASA’s Perseverance rover is studying rocks that show several eras in the history of a river delta billions of years old. Scientists are investigating this region of Mars, known as Jezero Crater, to see if they can find evidence of ancient life recorded in the rocks. Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley provides a guided tour of a richly detailed panorama of the rover’s location in November 2023, taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument.Composed of 993 individual images and 2.38 billion pixels, this 360-degree mosaic looks in all directions from a location the rover science team calls “Airey Hill.” Portions of the rover itself are visible in the scene, appearing more distorted toward the edges as a result of the image processing. A color enhancement applied to the image increases contrast and accentuates color differences. By approximating what the scene would look like under Earth-like lighting conditions, the adjustment allows mission scientists to use their everyday experience to interpret the landscape. The view on Mars would be darker and more reddish. The panorama can be explored and downloaded at: https://go.nasa.gov/3tmJnGB.Learn more about Perseverance: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS; ESA/DLR/FU-Berlin
Why is the last picture of Perseverance before six sols (December 23, 2023 Sol 1010)?It's been a few days since the last update, today is the 29th of December.https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/multimedia/raw-images/
Didn't mars go behind the sun? So no communication for a few weeks.