Bunsen Peak Piques Interest
Mars Perseverance Sol 1071 – Front Left Hazard Avoidance Camera:  Image of science in progress on the Bunsen Peak workspace in front of the rover. This image was acquired on Feb. 24, 2024 (Sol 1071) at the local mean solar time of 14:48:14. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Perseverance has continued its traverse west through the Margin unit. As the rover drives, images and data are obtained using instruments such as Mastcam-Z, Navcam, and SuperCam to track any changes in the chemistry or appearance of the rocks.

Along the way, the science team used these images to pick out an exciting rock named Bunsen Peak. This rock was intriguing because it stands tall among the surrounding terrain and has some interesting surface texture on its left face, as seen in the image above. Another feature of the rock that stood out in the image was the near vertical face directly in front of the rover. A vertical face piques the interest of the science team for a couple of reasons: first, a vertical face of a rock could give a cross-sectional view of any chemical or physical layering that might be occurring in the rock. Second, a vertical face is usually less dust-covered, which is good news for our scientific instruments!

Dust coatings on a rock surface can obscure the actual chemistry of the rock underneath, so it is important to look for less dusty surfaces for obtaining data and pictures. For example, in the Bunsen Peak rock, you can see where there are curved or angled surfaces of the rock that are lighter in color due to dust accumulation. Other surfaces, however, such as the protruding lip of rock the rover’s arm is investigating, are more vertical and appear darker, indicating less dust cover and a better spot for the rover to explore. We chose that spot to probe the chemistry of Bunsen Peak.

Captured in action is the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera, which takes close-up, high-resolution pictures of the rock’s surface. The SuperCam LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) instrument also performed chemical analyses on Bunsen Peak that can be correlated to the high-resolution images of WATSON to provide a well-rounded view of the texture and chemistry.

The rover will continue its trek west, using its instruments to monitor for any more rocks that will complete the story of the Margin unit 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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