NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has returned to Enchanted Lake, a sedimentary outcrop in the red planet’s Jezero Crater Delta, and is exploring its next potential sampling site.
The six-wheeled explorer visited the Enchanted Lake area back in April 2022. The ledge was his first close encounter with sedimentary rock in Jezero.
“The rocks here can tell us more about the earliest history of the lake in Jezero Crater and how it relates to the magmatic rocks that cover the crater floor. Thinking about the rocks of Enchanted Lake and relating them to rocks further up the delta at Hogwallow Flats.” compare,” Sarah Milkovich, assistant science manager at NASA/JPL, wrote in a blog post on Friday.
“When translating observations of rocks into an understanding of the history of a place, context is crucial – we don’t look at a single rock in isolation, we also learn about its neighbors. Understanding how all of these rocks relate to each other improves our understanding of the whole area and will hopefully one day assist future scientists in analyzing the samples in laboratories,” explained Sarah.
After a few weeks of driving, I’m back at Enchanted Lake looking for my next potential spot #SamplingMars. What do these rocks say about the earliest history of the former lake? Let’s find out. Latest team blog: https://t.co/AiXUYMZtmk pic.twitter.com/pcdH0rvpu1
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 23, 2022
NASA’s Perseverance is NASA’s first mission to collect and cache Martian rocks and regolith. The Mars explorer is in the middle of his second scientific campaign, collecting rock samples from an ancient river delta for a possible return to Earth in the future. The samples are expected to arrive on Earth in 2033 as part of the Mars Sample Return campaign.