Perseverance investigates ‘intriguing bedrock’ on Mars

The region of Mars called ‘Yori Pass’ could hold the clues needed to confirm life outside of Earth.


NASA ‘s Perseverance rover has begun exploring an “intriguing” area, which the science team calls “Yori Pass,” near the base of the ancient delta that stretches into Mars ‘ Jezero crater .

According to a statement from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), they have been “eager” to explore the region for several months after seeing a rock similar to one Perseverance collected samples from in July.

Why so much mystery with this region of Mars?

The feature is so enticing to scientists because it is sandstone, which is made up of fine grains that have been transported from elsewhere by water before settling and forming stone. The Perseverance samples are critical to the first step of the NASA – ESA (European Space Agency) Mars sample return campaign , which began when the rover stored its first rock in September 2021.

“We often prioritize studying fine-grained sedimentary rocks like this in our search for organic and potential biosignatures,” said Katie Stack Morgan, Perseverance deputy project scientist . “What’s especially interesting about the Yori Pass outcrop is that it’s laterally equivalent to the Hogwallow Flats, where we find very fine-grained sedimentary rocks. That means the bedrock is located at the same height as Hogwallow, and has a large traceable footprint visible on the surface”.

Searching Jezero Crater for biosignatures—any characteristic, element, molecule, substance, or trait that may serve as evidence of ancient life—is one of the Perseverance rover’s four science goals . Along with its 14 rock core samples, the rover has collected one atmospheric sample and three core tubes, all of which are stored in the rover’s belly.

After collecting a sample from Yori Pass, Perseverance will drive 227 meters southeast to a mega sand ripple. Located in the middle of a small dune field, the ripple, called “Observation Mountain” by the science team, will be where the rover will collect its first samples of regolith, or crushed rock and dust. (Europe Press)