A difficult road lies ahead. NASA announces rover’s next stop Perseverance
One of the main goals of the Perseverance rover is to collect rock samples that may contain signs of life on Mars. Scientists believe that such rocks are definitely located in the delta of the ancient river in the west of the Lake crater. But on its way to the top of the river delta, Perseverance must collect the first rock samples from a delta area called Hawksbill Gap, according to SciTechDAily.
Despite the fact that the rover has already collected several samples of Martian rock, scientists still rely on the rocks of the ancient Martian river delta, because it is in these deposits that traces of Martian life could be preserved. So far, the rover has managed to reach only the leading edge of the delta, and then it needs to climb to its top.
Last week, the Perseverance rover explored an area called Enchanted Lake. Scientists hoped the rover would take its first samples here. But he doesn’t have many sample capsules, so the mission team needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons.
The rover analyzed the surface and it turned out that there really are rocks that are different from those that he had already studied in other places of the Lake Lake crater. But scientists have decided not to take rock samples in this place in the hope that there may be something more interesting elsewhere in the delta.
Therefore, the rover continues its journey to the Hawksbill Gap area, which scientists consider promising in terms of taking the first rock samples from the ancient river delta. After that, Perseverance will have to climb to the top of the delta and collect samples already there.
Scientists on Earth are now carefully planning the rover’s route so that it can reach its destination in the safest way possible. The Ingenuity helicopter also helps the spacecraft in this, with which, as Focus already wrote, communication was lost for some time due to deteriorating weather conditions on Mars.
In the Hawksbill Gap area, the rover will have to make 5 stops, and each time scientists will decide whether the rover should take rock samples here. According to NASA plans, the rover, after it rises to the top of the delta, will also take several samples from the surface there. Then he will have to descend back to the bottom of Lake Lake and continue his work there.
Scientists are interested in the diversity of rocks in the study area, and they hope that when these samples get to Earth, they will be able to learn a lot about the geological history of the Red Planet. And of course, the researchers hope to find signs of ancient Martian life in these samples, if it was there.
We remind you that the Ingenuity helicopter has already discovered unusual terrain on Mars. It is unusual for a planet that does not have such tectonic activity as on Earth.
If we talk about larger NASA projects that relate to Mars, then the space agency is already planning to send the first people to the Red Planet. When this will happen is not exactly known, but NASA has presented the first plans for how the first human landing on Mars will take place.