Boulder Bonanza! Science and Sampling Attempts at the Onahu Outcrop
Mars Perseverance Sol 803 - Left Mastcam-Z Camera: This image, captured by the Mastcam-Z camera, shows our first attempted sample visible in the tube. This image acquired on May 24, 2023 (Sol 803). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASUDownload image ›

Recently on Mars, Perseverance wrestled with sampling a crumbly rock and continued our boulder-bonanza!

We’ve been exploring the Onahu outcrop for the past 3 weeks, having previously performed an abrasion named Ouzel Falls. We saw from this abrasion that the rock is most likely a conglomerate worth sampling, but was also likely to be crumbly. The team therefore elected to drive and reposition the rover at an angle more conducive to getting rock inside the sample tube (and away from rover parts, given that pebbles in our bit carousel previously caused the team some headaches before we finally dislodged them). We also added in extra Mastcam-Z imaging of the tube (see image above) to confirm that the rock made it in there before we sealed the sample. Although rock is visible, we only collected ~1.3 cm of sample, so we elected to re-attempt sampling on the Ouzel Falls abrasion spot. Unfortunately, this crumbly conglomerate continues to evade us! We will therefore drive approximately 40 m to a location called Stone Man Pass and assess whether conglomerates of interest for sampling exist there.

In addition to our sampling attempts, we have been using Mastcam-Z and SuperCam to observe other nearby boulders. These include a rock we’ve named “Crystal Lake” that shows an interesting surface texture and may be composed of two different clast types; and “Milner Pass” which appears to have purple coatings.

Next up, we’ll be making our way towards the “margin unit”, the carbonate-bearing rocks located along the inner rim of Jezero. Our previous stop at Echo Creek revealed rocks consistent with the curvilinear unit, and so we’re still waiting in anticipation to encounter the margin unit. The margin unit is thought to be related to a regional olivine-and-carbonate-rich unit that spans thousands of square kilometers. Therefore, assessing whether these deposits are similar to the olivine-rich Séítah, or something new, will help us understand both the history of Jezero and of the surrounding area.

Mars 2020 is unique compared to previous rover missions in that, whilst we have the freedom to explore, eventually Perseverance will rendezvous with the sample return vehicle to hand off our samples for return to Earth. This mission is a marathon, not a sprint, so we’re taking time to enjoy the stops along the way!

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
  • Athanasios Klidaras
    Ph.D. Student, Purdue University
  • 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
  • Asier Munguira
    Ph.D. Student, University of the Basque Country
  • 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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