Eyes on the Sky
Mastcam-Z's First Martian Sunset: The first Mastcam-Z image of the Martian sunset acquired from Jezero crater on sol 257 of the mission. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS. Download image ›

The Perseverance rover is equipped with a large suite of cameras—23 to be exact—which collectively enable a wide range of scientific investigations and engineering activities. Since the rover’s touchdown in Jezero crater, these cameras have served as our eyes on the ground. In less than a year, the rover has already returned thousands of stunning images of local surface features, which have provided our first in situ look at rocks on the crater floor and within the crater’s well-preserved delta. Images obtained from rover cameras are critical for interpreting the crater’s geologic history and identifying potential biosignatures in the Jezero crater rock record, a major focus of the mission.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard Right Navigation Camera (Navcam). The camera is located high on the rover's mast and aids in driving.
Mars Perseverance Sol 157 - Right Navigation Camera: Navcam image acquired on sol 157 captures an active dust devil in Jezero crater (in top right). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Yet, these cameras are used to image more than just rocks. Every week, the rover team also acquires a large number of images of the sky and atmosphere around the rover, which allow researchers to study environmental dynamics and weather patterns. The rover’s Navcam is commonly used to search for clouds in the sky and evidence of dust lifting on the surface, such as dust-filled vortices, known as dust devils, and other wind-driven dust events. Images captured from the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer’s SkyCam are frequently used to study atmospheric opacity (tau), which fluctuates depending on the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Typically, between two to four SkyCam images are acquired each sol, deliberately spread across different local times in order to assess diurnal changes in dust loading. Mastcam-Z images are also occasionally used to supplement SkyCam tau observations.

Over the last two weeks alone (sol 263–276), more than 60 atmospheric-focused activities have been conducted using rover cameras, including over 40 SkyCam images, roughly 10 Navcam dust devil observations, a handful of Navcam cloud images, and over a dozen Mastcam-Z tau images. On sol 257, one of these Mastcam-Z images provided a serendipitous observation: while the last of four tau images was scheduled too late in the evening to be used for opacity measurements, it was well-timed to provide the first sunset image of the mission.

For the remainder of Perseverance’s exploration of Jezero crater, the rover team will continue to regularly collect atmospheric observations to study weather and dust-lifting processes. While images of the surface will be used to study local geology and search for signs of ancient life, images of the sky will be used to characterize the Martian climate and to prepare for future human exploration of Mars.

About This Blog

These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars 2020 mission team members who love to share what Perseverance is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these blogs are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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  • Mariah Baker
    Planetary Scientist, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
    Washington, DC
  • Matthew Brand
    SuperCam/ChemCam Engineer, Los Alamos National LaboratoryLos Alamos National Laboratory
  • Sawyer Brooks
    Docking Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Adrian Brown
    Deputy Program Scientist, NASA HQ
    Washington, DC
  • Denise Buckner
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Fred Calef III
    Mapping Specialist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Stephanie Connell
    SuperCam, PhD Student, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Alyssa Deardorff
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Kenneth Farley
    Project Scientist, Caltech
    Pasadena, CA
  • Phylindia Gant
    Mars 2020 Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Brad Garczynski
    Student Collaborator, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN
  • Erin Gibbons
    Student Collaborator, McGill University
    Montreal, Canada
  • Michael Hecht
    Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Westford, MA
  • Louise Jandura
    Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Elisha Jhoti
    Ph.D. Student, University of California, Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Bavani Kathir
    Student Collaborator on Mastcam-Z, Western Washington University
  • Lydia Kivrak
    Student Collaborator, University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL
  • Rachel Kronyak
    Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Steven Lee
    Perseverance Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • An Li
    Student Collaborator on PIXL, University of Washington
  • Justin Maki
    Imaging Scientist and Mastcam-Z Deputy Principal Investigator, NASA/JPL
  • Forrest Meyen
    MOXIE Science Team Member, Lunar Outpost
  • Sarah Milkovich
    Assistant Science Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Eleanor Moreland
    Ph.D. Student, Rice University
    Houston, Texas
  • Matt Muszynski
    Vehicle Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Claire Newman
    Atmospheric Scientist, Aeolis Research
    Altadena, CA
  • Avi Okon
    Sampling Operations Deputy Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Pegah Pashai
    Vehicle Systems Engineer Lead, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • David Pedersen
    Co-Investigator, PIXL Instrument, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
    Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Eleni Ravanis
    Student Collaborator, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Honolulu, HI
  • Thirupathi Srinivasan
    Robotic Systems Engineer, NASA/JPL
  • Kathryn Stack
    Deputy Project Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vivian Sun
    Science Operations Systems Engineer, Staff Scientist, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Iona (Brockie) Tirona
    Sampling Engineer, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Jennifer Trosper
    Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Vandi Verma
    Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Rick Welch
    Deputy Project Manager, NASA/JPL
    Pasadena, CA
  • Roger Wiens
    Principal Investigator, SuperCam / Co-Investigator, SHERLOC instrument, Purdue University
    West Lafayette, IN

Tools on the Perseverance Rover+

The Perseverance rover has tools to study the history of its landing site, seek signs of ancient life, collect rock and soil samples, and help prepare for human exploration of Mars. The rover carries:


Where is the Rover?

Image of a rover pin-point at Perseverance's location on Mars, Jezero Crater

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