Rocket Scour and Wheel Prints
Taken on March 5, 2021, this color-calibrated image from a Navigation Camera aboard NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover shows tracks from the rover's first drive (darker marks in the foreground) and an area scoured by the Mars 2020 mission's descent stage rockets (lighter-colored area in the middle ground).
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/