PIXL's View of Dourbes
These images show a rock target called "Dourbes" in Mars' Jezero Crater and a map of chemical elements detected within the target by PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), one of the instruments on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover.
The two images at top show the target in black-and-white and colorized views. PIXL's map of elements is at the bottom, showing magnesium (blue), silicon (red), and calcium (green) – three of the major minerals present in the rock. The map shows olivine and pyroxene forming a cumulate texture characteristic of an igneous rock (solidified from magma or lava). The presence of sulfate salts and potential carbonates reveal that these igneous rocks were altered by water, indicating past watery environments in Jezero Crater.
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 about Perseverance: