NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance has sent pictures back to Earth of a unique rock formation within what the space agency called an “ancient lakebed” in its latest reported discovery during it mission on the Red Planet.
“Check out this patch of rock I found: looks kind of like garden pavers, and is probably exposed bedrock,” read a message from the research robot’s Twitter account on Wednesday. “Material like this, from the early days of this ancient lakebed, can help capture what that lake was like. Spending a few days investigating…”
Perseverance arrived on Mars on Feb. 18 after a six-month journey through space. The rover’s landing site was at the Jezero Crater, and “scientists believe the area was once flooded with water and was home to an ancient river delta,” according to NASA.
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The rover is being assisted by Integrity, NASA’s Mars helicopter, which made its ninth flight on Mars earlier this month. Integrity made history on April 19 by completing the first controlled flight by an aircraft on a planet other than Earth.
“My science team is poring over these color images from the #MarsHelicopter’s latest flight,” Perseverance’s Twitter account posted last week along with video of Martian terrain. “Ingenuity crossed over a region that would be tricky for me to drive on, adding a new perspective to the picture of Jezero Crater that I’m piecing together.”
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Perseverance’s mission on Mars includes searching the Red Planet for signs of ancient microbial life, collecting samples, surveying the geological features within the Jezero Crater, and sending images back to Earth.
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Perseverance marked NASA’s ninth landing on Mars and is the agency’s fifth rover. She is also the largest, weighing in at more than a metric ton.