NASA’s Perseverance rover is currently preparing to launch the Ingenuity satellite helicopter, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t looking around. Scientists recently became interested in an unusual greenish rock on the surface of the Red Planet, which, according to the rover’s Twitter account puzzled scientists…
“The team has formulated many different hypotheses about this – is it something weathered from local rocks? Is this a piece of Mars that got into this area as a result of a violent collision? Is it a meteorite? Or something different? – written by researchers on behalf of the rover. – It is about 15 cm long. If you look closely, you can see a number of laser markings that I made to find out more. “…
The laser is part of the SuperCam instrument for optical, chemical and mineralogical analysis of rocks and soil on Mars. It is an enhanced version of the ChemCam instrument on the Curiosity rover. The device has two lasers and four spectrometers for remotely searching for biosignatures and assessing the possibility of the existence of Martian life in the past.
Scientists hope that over time, SuperCam will provide more information about the composition of the strange breed and tell scientists whether it was formed on the spot or was transferred there by some process. If the rock hasn’t formed at its current location, it could be that water brought it to Jezero Crater a long time ago, or it could be a meteorite like the one the Curiosity rover discovered in 2014.
Perseverance is the centerpiece of NASA’s $ 2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission. The car-sized rover began operations on the Red Planet on February 18, exploring Jezero Crater for signs of ancient life. Previously, according to scientists, there was a deep lake and a river delta in the crater, so this place is extremely interesting for research. The rover will retain the most promising samples for a possible return mission in the next decade.
The rover has seven scientific instruments on board. SuperCam is located at the top of the mast and can send laser beams at selected rocks up to 7 meters from the rover. Each beam creates a cloud of vaporized rock, the composition of which can be analyzed with SuperCam cameras and spectrometers.
The first SuperCam on Mars went live on March 2, when the laser began firing at a target called Máaz (Navajo language for Mars). The Perseverance team unofficially named their Jezero crater area De Sheyi Canyon, after a national monument in Navajo land in northeastern Arizona.
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