Author Topic: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates  (Read 60374 times)

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Re: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates
« Reply #100 on: 04/06/2023 12:26 am »
https://twitter.com/astro_jonny/status/1643593530655354880

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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_ThomasZ

We just need to go and get them.

Words by me @SciAm

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nasas-perseverance-rover-may-already-have-evidence-of-ancient-martian-life/

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Re: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates
« Reply #101 on: 04/22/2023 11:04 pm »

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Re: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates
« Reply #102 on: 05/11/2023 08:56 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasa/status/1656727077578473477

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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.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/images-from-nasa-s-perseverance-may-show-record-of-wild-martian-river

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May 11, 2023

Images 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 Curves

Years 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 Mission

A 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 Good
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-2433
[email protected]

Karen Fox / Alana Johnson
NASA Headquarters, Washington
301-286-6284 / 202-358-1501
[email protected] / [email protected]

2023-067

Last Updated: May 11, 2023
Editor: Tony Greicius
Tags:  Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mars, Moon to Mars, Perseverance Mars Rover

Image captions:

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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

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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

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Re: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates
« Reply #103 on: 05/19/2023 08:40 am »

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Re: Perseverance, Mars 2020 Rover : Updates
« Reply #104 on: 05/21/2023 06:21 am »
https://twitter.com/nasaspaceflight/status/1659985476114165761

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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:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2023/05/perseverance-mars-express-update/

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