Perseverance's Mastcam-Z First High-Resolution Panorama
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Stitched together from 79 individual images, this Mastcam-Z right-eye 110-mm zoom mosaic is from the camera's first high-resolution panorama imaging sequence. These images were taken on the afternoon of Sol 4 (Feb. 22, 2021) of the mission; a sol is a Martian day.
The camera was commanded to take these images by scanning the mast, or "head," a full 360-degrees around the horizon visible from the landing site. The top of some of the distant crater rim is cut off in some images to ensure the images would cover the front ridge of the Jezero Crater's ancient delta, which is only about 1.25 miles (2 kilometers) away from the rover in the center of this panorama. At that distance and focal length, Mastcam-Z can resolve features as small as about 50 centimeters (1.6 feet) across along the front of the delta.
The mosaic is not white balanced but is instead displayed in a preliminary calibrated version of a natural color composite, approximately simulating the colors of the scene that we would see if we were there viewing it ourselves.
Arizona State University in Tempe leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.
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.
JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.