NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this image of regolith – broken rock and dust – on Dec. 2, 2022.

December 07, 2022

This image of Martian regolith – broken rock and dust – was captured Dec. 2, 2022, by the Sampling and Caching System Camera (known as CacheCam) on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The regolith, contained inside a metal tube, is one of two samples that will be considered for deposit on the Martian surface this month as part of the Mars Sample Return campaign.

The sample was collected in Mars’ Jezero Crater from a pile of wind-blown sand and dust called a “mega-ripple” – a feature similar to but smaller than a dune.

Studying regolith with powerful lab equipment back on Earth will allow scientists to better understand the processes that have shaped the surface of Mars and help engineers design future missions as well as equipment used by future Martian astronauts.

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.

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.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance:




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