NASA's Mars Perseverance rover arrives back at Enchanted Lake
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has arrived back at Enchanted Lake, a sedimentary outcrop on the Red Planet's Jezero Crater delta, scoping out its next potential spot for sampling.
The six-wheeled explorer visited the Enchanted Lake area back in April 2022. The rocky outcrop was its first close encounter with sedimentary rocks in Jezero.
"The rocks here can tell us more about the earliest history of the lake within Jezero Crater and how it relates to the igneous rocks covering the floor of the crater. This exploration strategy of taking a look, moving on, and then coming back allowed us to think about the Enchanted Lake rocks and compare them to rocks further up the delta at Hogwallow Flats," Sarah Milkovich, Assistant Science Manager at NASA/JPL, wrote in a blog post on Friday.
"When translating observations of rocks into an understanding of the history of a location, context is key – we're not looking at a single rock in isolation, we're getting to know its neighbours too. Understanding how all these rocks relate to each other enhances our understanding of the whole area, and will also hopefully someday assist future scientists as they analyze the samples in laboratories," Sarah explained.
After a couple weeks of driving, I’m back at “Enchanted Lake,” scoping out my next potential spot for #SamplingMars. What do these rocks have to say about the earliest history of the lake that used to be here? Let’s find out.Latest team blog: https://t.co/AiXUYMZtmk pic.twitter.com/pcdH0rvpu1— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) September 23, 2022
NASA's Perseverance is the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith. The Martian explorer is well into its second science campaign, collecting rock samples from an ancient river delta for a possible return to Earth in the future. The samples are expected to arrive on Earth in 2033 as part of the Mars Sample Return campaign.