A photo taken in the Jezero crater on Mars by the Mastcam-Z of the Perseverance rover shows rock formations that have driven users crazy on social networks .
The Perseverance rover has arrived in a strange and intriguing Martian terrain. The space vehicle took a photo that could be mistaken for some classic filmography. To the left of the photograph, a boulder perches precariously on a slab of gray rock. And in the right center, a formation makes it look like a snake made of the same material.
Researchers have taken a liking to this landscape, for much less fanciful reasons. The layered hill appears to be part of the ancient river delta that once existed within the 45km-wide Jezero Crater , right where the six-wheeled robot and its little companion, the Ingenuity helicopter, landed in February 2021.
From earlier, distant views, my team nicknamed this area “the bacon strip.” (My overhead map shows why.) Now that I’m up on top, we’re calling it “Hogwallow Flats” – and the nearby rocks are a sight to behold. My team is happy as pigs in mud(stone)!
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 16, 2022
Perseverance has two main mission tasks: to search for signs of past life on Mars , if it ever existed, and to cache dozens of samples for a future return to Earth .
The ancient Jezero Delta is the best place for the rover to do that job, Perseverance team members said.
Ingenuity has been helping Perseverance explore the crater floor, scouting routes and trying to find interesting science targets for the rover. The helicopter has been doing that reconnaissance job since completing its primary mission, an initial 30-day, five-flight campaign. This unit was designed to demonstrate that powered flight is possible on Mars despite the planet’s thin atmosphere.