Searching for Signs of Life on Mars: Perseverance's Robotic Arm Starts Conducting Science - SciTechDaily
May 12, 2021 1 min, 33 secs

Mastcam-Z Views ‘Santa Cruz’ on Mars: NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its dual-camera Mastcam-Z imager to capture this image of “Santa Cruz,” a hill about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) away from the rover, on April 29, 2021, the 68th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

NASA’s newest Mars rover is beginning to study the floor of an ancient crater that once held a lake.

NASA’s Perseverance rover has been busy serving as a communications base station for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and documenting the rotorcraft’s historic flights.

But the rover has also been busy focusing its science instruments on rocks that lay on the floor of Jezero Crater.

Understanding this timeline should help date rock samples – to be collected later in the mission – that might preserve a record of ancient microbes.

Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z Images Intriguing Rocks: NASA’s Perseverance rover viewed these rocks with its Mastcam-Z imager on April 27, 2021.

One important question scientists want to answer: whether these rocks are sedimentary (like sandstone) or igneous (formed by volcanic activity).

Some sedimentary rocks – formed in the presence of water from rock and mineral fragments like sand, silt, and clay – are better suited to preserving biosignatures, or signs of past life.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used the WATSON camera on the end of its robotic arm to conduct a focus test on May 10, 2021, the 79th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Perseverance’s PIXL at Work on Mars (Illustration): In this illustration, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover uses the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL).

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

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