Since the Viking 1 and 2missions visited Mars in 1976, scientists have been confronted with mounting evidence that Mars once had flowing water on its surface. The images collected by the twin Viking landers and orbiters showed clear signs of ancient flow channels, alluvial deposits, and weathered rocks. Thanks to the dozens of additional orbiters, landers, and rovers sent that have been sent there since scientists have been getting a clearer picture of what Mars once looked like. At the end of this journey, they hope to find evidence (if there’s any to be found) that Mars once supported life and still does today.
The latest evidence of Mars’ warmer watery past comes to us courtesy of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which continues to explore the Jezero Crater and obtain samples for the first Mars sample-return mission. On Friday, June 23rd, the rover obtained its 20th sample, which was drilled from a rocky outcropping known as “Emerald Lake.” Named “Otis Peak,” this sample is part of an outcropping formed by mineral deposits transported by an ancient river and could contain invaluable geological information about the many places these minerals came from.
The search for life on Mars has been a long a confusing one. Inconclusive experiments abound, but one thing is certain – there is definitely organic material on the Red Planet. Now, a new study in Nature has confirmed that finding and showed just how complex that organic material actually is.
The pareidolia crowd is sure to have a field day with this! Once again, an oddly-shaped rock has been spotted on Mars. Once again, the rock is donut-shaped. This particular rock was spotted by NASA’s Perseverancerover, which continues to explore the Jezero Crater in Mars’ northern hemisphere. The image was taken by the Remote Microscopic Imager (RMI), part of the SuperCam instrument, at a distance of about 100 meters (328 feet) from the rover, on June 22nd, 2023 – the 832nd Martian day (or sol) of the mission.
In a first for Martian water science, NASA’s Perseverance rover has discovered geological evidence of a large, fast-moving river in Mars’ ancient past. The high-energy river once emptied into Jezero crater, which the rover has been exploring since early 2021, and is a totally different water system than anything seen previously on the red planet.
There’s a reason Jezero Crater was chosen as the landing site for the Perseverance Rover: it is considered one of the likeliest places to find any evidence if Mars was ever habitable for long periods of time. In this great new flyby video from ESA, you can get a birds-eye look at Perseverance’s home.
Created from data ESA’s Mars Express and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the video takes you on an aerial tour of the crater. From this perspective, you can see the water features in this ancient impact crater and understand why this was considered one of the best places to explore Mars.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover has reached another milestone. It’s finished caching its samples for a potential return to Earth. The sample depot is located in Mars’ Jezero Crater, where Perseverance is busy searching for signs of ancient life.
At this point in its mission, NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover has collected almost 50% of its samples. The rover is now building its first sample ‘depot’ on the surface of Mars. The depot is a flat, obstacle-free area with 11 separate landing circles, one for each sample tube and one for the lander.
A future mission will retrieve these samples by helicopter.
It seems like only months ago that the Perseverance Rover landed in Jezero Crater on Mars. But in fact, it’s been there longer than a year. Perseverance has had company during this time; its sidekick, the Ingenuity helicopter, completed 23 flights in Mars’ thin atmosphere so far.
The HiRISE camera on the MRO has captured an image of the rover and the tiny helicopter on Mars as it rests on the surface.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover is busy exploring Jezero Crater on Mars. Part of its mission is to collect samples for retrieval by a future mission. NASA and the ESA haven’t determined where the sample return mission will land yet.
That depends on the Perseverance mission and how it spends the rest of its time on Mars. But we know of one possible—albeit ambitious—landing spot: just west of Jezero Crater.