The Perseverance rover finally begins its mission

The Perseverance rover finally begins its mission

Having completed its tasks in support of the Ingenuity drone / helicopter, the Perseverance rover can finally devote itself seriously to activities on the Martian soil also aimed at searching for traces of hypothetical life forms.

Jennifer Trosper , Perseverance project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the rover is finally free to "maneuver and hit the road," now that it is no longer indispensable for tests involving the small Ingenuity helicopter. Freed from this supporting role, the rover can finally be employed for its primary denomination.

During the next 14 weeks, Perseverance will then be busy exploring an area of ​​1.5 square miles, equivalent to approximately four square kilometers, inside the Jezero crater, working in the meantime to achieve some specific objectives. These objectives aim at a better understanding of the geology of the region, at evaluating its potential aptitude for having hosted life forms in the past and, of course, at what everyone heartily wishes: the search for concrete signs of ancient Martian microbial life. br>
During its "wandering" Perseverance will identify and collect promising rock and sediment samples, some of which will be stored in special containers, in view of a future mission with the task of collecting these, and others, samples and bring them back to Earth for further and more accurate analysis. The rover will also carry out technical measurements and tests, in anticipation of future human and robotic missions to the Red Planet.

Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona

The first of the tasks that Perseverance will have to face will be to reach a "panoramic point", from which to observe the geological characteristics of the crater. From there, the rover will focus its investigations on two specific areas, both considered optimal for hosting exposed layers of rather ancient rock. The first area was nicknamed Crater Floor Fractured Rough, which, as the name suggests, is an area full of craters, while the second was renamed Séítah, which means "in the middle of the sand" in the Navajo language. According to NASA, Séítah presents a good example of the bedrock of Mars, but is also home to ridges, layered rocks, and sand dunes.