Detailed Panorama of Mars' Jezero Crater Delta
Intriguing Martian rocks surround NASA's Perseverance rover in this panorama showing an ancient river delta, made from images captured by the Mastcam-Z camera system. This 2.5-billion-pixel mosaic, which combines 1,118 individual frames, is the most detailed landscape panorama ever returned from Mars.
The delta in Mars' Jezero Crater is an area where scientists surmise that, billions of years ago, a river once flowed into a lake and deposited rocks and sediments in a fan shape. Deltas are believed to be the best places on Mars to search for potential signs of ancient microbial life. Arrival at the Jezero delta has been a primary goal of the Perseverance mission since the rover landed in the crater in February 2021.
The panorama shows sedimentary rocks of great interest to scientists. The Perseverance rover has abraded the surface of several rocks in this area and acquired compositional information. It also has collected rock samples that the Mars Sample Return campaign could bring back to Earth in the future, enabling detailed laboratory studies as part of a search for signs of ancient life.
In this enhanced-color view, the color bands of the image have been processed to improve visual contrast and accentuate color differences. Figure A shows the same panorama using a natural-color view. A guided tour of the panorama is available at https://images.nasa.gov/details-JPL-20220906-Perseverance_Explores_Jezero_Crater_Delta_UHD.
These images were taken in 2022 on June 12, 13, 16, 17, and 20 (the 466th, 467th, 470th, 471st, and 474th Martian days, or sols, of Perseverance's mission).
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 the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover. Arizona State University leads the operations of the Mastcam-Z instrument, working in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, 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.
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