NASA’s robotic geologist Perseverance, busy unraveling the mysteries of Mars, has shared a bleak but enchanting picture of the red planet. In its latest attempt, the rover sent an image of dusty Martian rocks scattered across the barren land of Earth’s neighbor. “Making a random zen art while I drive. Mars may be bleak, but it has a certain charm,” the Twitter-loving robot wrote in a post.
According to the rover’s mission team, the image above was selected by public vote and awarded the Perseverance rover mission’s “Image of the Week” to Mars. The mission team revealed that the photo was taken with Perseverance’s right Mastcam-Z camera, a pair of cameras located high on the rover’s mast.
The rover has a total of five cameras on board, and each performs unique and crucial operations. The Mastcam-Z is designed to capture color video and three-dimensional stereo images through its powerful zoom lens. Just like the rover Curiosity, which also has mastcam cameras, Perseverance consists of two dual camera systems, side by side and pointing in the same direction. This orientation gives scientists a 3-D view similar to what the human eye would see, but with much better resolution. These cameras also have a zoom function that allows for detailed observations of distant targets.
Perseverance Rover arrives at an exciting location
My long journey to the ancient river delta is almost done. In front: layered rocks that lie in the water and certainly hold secrets about what their surroundings once looked like. Could they even provide clues to past lives? We will see…
More in the latest team blog: https://t.co/OH4pflHxaI pic.twitter.com/Nq5x0x1TkC
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) April 15, 2022
In April, maintainers of the rover revealed that Perseverance is now heading toward a location where there is the highest likelihood of showing signs of ancient Martian life. After landing at Jezero crater in February 2021, the rover surveyed the site that used to be flooded with water and was a river delta.
As a next task, Perseverance will examine layered rocks that were likely submerged in water and may contain signs of life. According to NASA, the first life on Mars must have started about four billion years ago, which is called the early Noahian period. Scientists believe the Red Planet was much more habitable then and survived until it was washed away