Perseverance Rover's View of South Séítah
This mosaic features a rover-eye view of the "South Séítah" geologic unit of Jezero Crater. Composed of 84 enhanced-color images that were later stitched together, the mosaic was taken on Sept. 12, 2021 (the 201st Martian day, or sol, of the mission), by the Mastcam-Z imager as the rover was parked on an elevated overlook just outside its entry point into South Séítah.
An annotated version of this image (Figure 1) indicates the location of several prominent geologic features. At the top left and running about a third of the way to the center of the image is a portion of the delta front, a river delta that billions of years ago fed the lake at Jezero Crater. Below and to the right of that is a ridge nicknamed "Faillefeu" (after a medieval abbey in the French Alps). Farther to the right, at the top of the image is the distant peak called "Santa Cruz." While not a planned destination of the rover, Santa Cruz is geologically interesting since it has mineral signatures – seen both from orbit and by the rover (from its landing site) – consistent with alteration minerals, primarily clays.
Near the top at the far right is a portion of the route Perseverance took to get to this location. At the time, Perseverance was traveling south, skirting the outside of the Séítah geologic unit. To the right (and out of frame), Perseverance would take a hard right and head northwest along a ridgeline just outside of Séítah.
The Mastcam-Z investigation is led and operated by Arizona State University in Tempe, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, on the design, fabrication, testing, and operation of the cameras, and in collaboration with the Neils Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen on the design, fabrication, and testing of the calibration targets.
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.
For more information about Perseverance: