During the solar conjunction, the Perseverance rover took a well-deserved holiday in October, but it’s now back to exploring the fascinating rocks of Mars’ Jezero Crater. On October 2, NASA’s contacts with the rover were suspended due to solar conjunction when the sun passes between Earth and Mars. Perseverance resumed her hunt for traces of ancient life on Mars on October 19, once the blackout was lifted.
One of the rover’s primary objectives is to collect samples from Martian rocks and dirt, returned to Earth by future missions. It has gathered two pieces and uses an aerial scout from the Ingenuity chopper to locate its following sample. In addition, Perseverance has been exploring specific rock outcrops in the planet’s South Sétah region since October 25, which interests Perseverance scientist’s team on Earth.
Rocks in Jezero Crater, formerly the site of a lake 3.7 billion years ago, act as an unspoiled ancient time capsule. They can tell scientists about the formation of the rocks and the climate of the period. This could provide us a bird’s-eye view of what the lake and its river delta looked like when the planet was warmer and wetter — and potentially livable.