The Perseverance rover continues its journey on Mars and reaches a new territory | Lifestyle | SmartLife

The Perseverance rover continues its journey on Mars and reaches a new territory | Lifestyle | SmartLife
The Perseverance rover continues its journey on Mars and reaches a new territory | Lifestyle | SmartLife

The Perseverance rover POT has been exploring the southern side of Neretva Vallis on Mars. This is a geological structure that possibly represents the ancient bed of a river that once fed the basin where the Jezero Crater, the rover’s landing site, is located. This place is of particular interest to the space agency because of its potential to have housed water and, possibly, life in the past.

For some time now, it has been expected that Perseverance would go to its next destination: Bright Angel -named for its light-toned outcrops that could be ancient rocks discovered by river erosion-. However, what appeared to be a relatively smooth journey became complicated when the rover encountered an unexpected rock field. After days of slow progress, the decision was made to divert the route into a dune field and through the river channel. This decision turned out to be the correct one, since, finally, has reached its destination.

Route of the Perseverance rover on MarsPOT

Fortunately, the dune field chosen for the journey was suitable enough for Perseverance to plot a path through them. Then, already in the river channel, the rover advanced up to 200 meters per Martian day. The new route also turned out to be fortunate for scientific reasons for NASA. In the middle of the channel, Perseverance encountered the so-called Mount Washburn, a rocky hill that offered interesting geological opportunities. One of the intriguing rocks they found could be the product of a ancient underground magma reservoirwhich could provide valuable information about the volcanic history of Mars.

NASA happy with Perseverance’s work

We’ve been watching the river channel to the north, hoping to find a section where the dunes were small and spaced enough for the rover to pass between them.”said Evan Graser, an engineer who helps plan the routes to take, in a statement. “Perseverance also needed an entrance ramp that we could descend safely. When the images showed both elements, we headed straight there”.

The Martian landscape found in the area is a sight desolate and rusty, with hills and a mixture of various rocks and brown dust scattered everywhere. Perseverance’s journey was facilitated by AutoNav, a system that allows the rover to navigate autonomously. Unlike previous models that required full control from Earth, operators can provide a general route, and the system takes care of minute-by-minute navigation.

Landscape of Mars seen with the Perseverance roverPOT

The study of the area has begun

Now, with the rover in Bright Angel, the rocks have begun to be analyzed. This raises an important question: Should Perseverance collect a rock sample here? NASA is carefully considering this issue, since doing this is one of the main missions of the mission. These could be fundamental to understand the geological past of Mars and evaluate the possibility of ancient life on the red planet. The agency’s scientific team, based on the data collected earlier, will make a decision once it is decided whether this site deserves one of the limited sampling opportunities available.

Perseverance’s journey has not only been a feat of navigation, but also a mission of continued scientific discovery, with each advance bringing us closer to unraveling the mysteries of Mars. NASA continues monitoring and adjusting the mission of the rover to maximize the scientific value of each movement on the Martian surface.

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