This annotated image shows a rock target called “Garde” as analyzed by SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), one of the instruments on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover.

December 16, 2021

This annotated image shows a rock target called “Garde” as analyzed by SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), one of the instruments on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. This data was taken on Sept. 18, 2021, the 207th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

SHERLOC detected a combination of olivine and carbonate minerals in the rock target, which is located in the geological unit known as “Séítah” of Mars’ Jezero Crater. The olivine minerals represent part of an igneous rock, while the carbonate minerals precipitated from liquid water that interacted with the igneous rock. On Earth, this would be evidence of a geological process known as carbonation, and it proves that liquid water interacted with, or aqueously altered, the igneous rocks within Séítah.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance:

mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

nasa.gov/perseverance

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LANL/PhotonSys

ENLARGE

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