The Dragon’s Egg Too Tough To Crack
Boulders Ahead: Perseverance looks out over a field of boulders, snapping this image with its Left Mastcam on Sol 868 (July 30, 2023). Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU. Download image ›

Perseverance spent this week on Mars roving across the top of the Jezero fan- from Mount Meeker to Dream Lake- in search of yet another sample for return to Earth. This upper region known as Lobe K is expected to contain some of the most recently deposited materials within the delta sequence, providing the opportunity to place both upper and lower bounds on the timing of aqueous activity that built the fan. Another interesting feature of this region includes an array of boulders that dot this region. These rocks are compelling because they are thought to have been sourced outside the watershed, transported from afar by the water that flowed into Jezero crater long ago. After sampling in-place material from Lobe K, the team plans to collect a core from one of these boulders. With this target, scientists hope to gain insight into both local and distal geologic history, including the geochemical conditions where the boulder formed, depositional processes that brought this material to Jezero, and environmental changes that have occurred since emplacement. Since these large rocks are thought to have been transported to the region after the fan formed and set down on top of the Lobe K material, this sample will help scientists better understand how Jezero and the Martian environment continued to evolve throughout time. Boulders are also great rocks for performing geochronological analyses!

There may be an abundance of compelling targets in Lobe K, but collecting a sample from this lithology has presented a challenge. The last core Perseverance drilled was a conglomerate called Otis Peak at the Onahu outcrop, and the soft and crumbly nature of this outcrop meant that several attempts were required before the team was able to successfully collect a core. Now it’s a different story- these rocks are much harder. Perseverance initially performed abrasion and proximity science on a target called Dragon’s Egg in preparation to sample the adjacent Lost Lake, but the rock was so hard that the abrasion bit was only able to partially grind into the target, and the drilling bit was unable to dig deep enough to collect a core with the required 2.5 cm length. The team decided to leave the workspace- with a trove of data from the Dragon’s Egg abrasion prox sci in hand- and head to Dream Lake to look for another Lobe K rock to sample. These rocks may be tough, but Perseverance is tougher and won’t give up until the core is secured!

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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