A Target for Perseverance's SuperCam
Taken Feb. 22, 2021, this image from the Mastcam-Z instrument on NASA's Perseverance rover shows the first target for analysis by the rover's SuperCam instrument.
The target rock is approximately 29 inches (73 centimeters) across its longest axis. On the left side of the image, rocks characterized by holes partially filled with dark sands contrast with the lighter-toned, smoother texture of the rock on the right. The finer-grained Martian soil can also be seen surrounding the rocks, some of which was disturbed by the Mars 2020 mission descent stage engine plumes. The image colors portray an estimate of the natural color of each scene, or approximately what the scene would look like if we viewed it with human eyes.
A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/