The beautiful new picture just gives a taste of what is coming.
In the first 360 degrees image taken from NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover, this wind-carved "Harbor Seal Rock" shows how much detail the camera system can capture. (Credit of image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ASU)
NASA's rover Perseverance has arrived in a rich scientific hunting ground, provided its first good look is a guide.
The car-size Perseverance landed on Feb. 18 at the ground level of Jezero Crater and began an ambitious surface mission, which was aimed at tracking down signs of ancient Mars life.
The Mission Team still conducts health and status inspections on its various instruments and subsystems and perseverance is not yet ready for this scientific work. But this six-wheeled robot recently used its Mastcam-Z camera suite to capture a 360° view of the environment in a high-definition way and the mission team was fascinated with this first taste.
For example, a dark stone was shown by the zoomable panorama which the team called "Secal Rock Harbour." A senior researcher from Mastcam-Z Jim Bell from the Earth and Space Exploration School of Arizona State University said in a photographic webcast on Thursday (Feb. 25).
The Martian wind probably sculpted Harbor Seal Rock over the ages, Bell said. He also indicated patches that demonstrated much faster erosion, places where the thrusters blew the red dust blanket of Mars on February 18, revealing the surfaces of small rocks on the "sky crane" stage of Perseverance's descent.
One of these patches contains a group of light, heavily pitched stones that have captured the eyes of scientists.
"Are these rocks of volcanoes? Are these rocks of carbonate? Something else is this? Have they got coatings?" Bell said that. Bell said. "We don't know — we haven't got any chemical data or mineral data yet, but, kid, they've certainly been interesting, and part of the story will be told if we get more detailed data about those rocks and other materials here."
The Jezero crater was 28 km wide and had a deep lake and the Delta river thousands of years ago. Billions of years ago. Deltas are good for preserving life signs on Earth so the team from Perseverance is eager for the rover to study and sample the remains in Jezero. In the Mastcam-Z panorama, the Delta is visible; the cliffs which mark its edge are approximately 2 km from the landing site at Perseverance, Bell said.
Jezero Crater's rim is visible in the Mastcam-Z panorama beyond the delta cliffs.
Naturally, the photo recently exposed is just the start. For the first time, the Mastcam Z team is building the lowest-resolution panorama. Bell said that after the switch to the surface-optimized software, similar shots are three times sharper, which is already in progress.
And we haven't yet gotten the least taste of the scientific discoveries of Perseverance. This work takes a long time to get going as the first major task of the mission group following the rover's operation is to conduct 4 lb. (1.8 kilograms) test flights of the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity, which rode on Perseverance's belly on the Red Planet.