Within the Margin
A Narrow Margin: In this Sol 915 (September 16, 2023) Navcam image, Perseverance looks down at the Amherst Point abrasion patch, catching the first subsurface glimpse at a rock in the marginal carbonate unit. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

This week on Mars, Perseverance officially kicked off the Margin Campaign by arriving at Mandu Wall and performing the first abrasion of a rock within the marginal carbonate unit! Reaching this destination was no easy feat- it took Perseverance several attempts to successfully navigate a ~350 meter long path through a field of boulders, using a combination of autonomous and directed drives to dodge hazards in the rough terrain. The lithological boundary at Mandu Wall marks an important waypoint along the climb towards Jezero Crater’s rim, as it comprises an abundance of carbonate-bearing rocks hypothesized to have formed through precipitation, as a result of aqueous activity that dominated the once-watery Martian surface several billion years ago. Water-driven alteration of igneous minerals is another possible mechanism that could explain the carbonate’s origin.

The Margin Campaign is dedicated to exploring the origin, alteration, and astrobiological relevance of the marginal carbonates that circle the upper edge of Jezero Crater. How did these rocks form? How have they changed since they formed, and what can their alteration tell us about the evolving Martian environment? What is the relationship between the marginal carbonates and the rocks that surround them? Could any of these carbonates contain potential biosignatures or information about habitability? These are just a few of the scientific questions motivating the Margin Campaign.

This fourth segment of the Mars 2020 mission is expected to take about 230 sols (days on Mars, equivalent to about 8 Earth months) and will see Perseverance rove across the marginal carbonates and up to Jezero Crater’s rim, stopping to conduct remote and proximity science observations and drill up to 4 cores along the way. Upon reaching the rim, Perseverance will transition to the “Inner Rim Campaign” focused on exploring this upper boundary around the edge of Jezero, before finally exiting the crater and continuing on with the “Beyond Jezero Campaign.” In the near term, proximity science observations of the new “Amherst Point” abrasion patch at Mandu Wall are planned for the next few sols as the Margin Campaign marches on. Once downlinked to Earth, this data collected by SHERLOCPIXL, and SuperCam will help the science team decide whether to drill here – or to look elsewhere and select a different marginal carbonate target to sample for the first core of the campaign!

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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