The Science Team directed Perseverance to Airey Hill, the parking spot chosen for Solar Conjunction. Although there will be a pause on data during conjunction, team members still analyze all the images taken on the drive before Perseverance parked and data delivery was paused.
While all returned images and data are exciting, these post-drive images showed an interesting rock that stood out to the Mastcam-Z (ZCAM) team. Pictured above, the rock Barrabiddy had interesting textures, such as the wind-abraded smooth rock faces, that caught the attention of team members. What adds to the intrigue is this rock seems to be part of an exposed outcrop that is in contact with the underlying bedrock. The initial ZCAM images suggesting a depositional contact inspired focused compositional analyses by the SuperCam instruments.
While these ZCAM images prompted observations on the Science Team, Barrabiddy also captured the eyes of the public. The above image of Barrabiddy was voted as Image of the Week for Week 142, receiving over 280 “likes” on Perseverance’s Raw Images page! Most images receive few likes, so the public’s interest in Barrabiddy is quite evident through their interaction. As a scientist and team member involved with communicating Perseverance’s science to the public, I always try to be aware of how to engage people and effectively share information about the rover. Seeing the images and data that excite the public is one way we, as scientists, can best engage others and bring everyone into the amazing journey of Perseverance.
While Perseverance is parked for solar conjunction, it is a great time to reflect on the journey so far. If you become restless during conjunction and want to look back at beautiful data from Mars, check out the past raw Images of the Week or the Mastcam-Z team-favorite images. Are you drawn to interesting rocks like Barrabiddy? Check out past blogs about other cool rocks Perseverance has imaged, like the rock shaped like a sombrero, a dragon’s egg, or ones with hidden illusions. Happy Solar Conjunction!