Potential Driving Routes for NASA's Perseverance Rover
This annotated image highlights potential routes that NASA's Perseverance team is considering in September 2022 for the rover to drive from the front of an ancient river delta to the rim of Jezero Crater. The team will continue to investigate the Martian terrain and consider the science potential of these options before choosing the rover's route.
The Perseverance team and the U.S. Geological Survey collaborated on the base map seen here, combining multiple images from the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera with color from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), both instruments aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The HiRISE images used span a period from 2007 to 2017.
Perseverance landed on the floor of Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. The delta, which Perseverance reached in April 2022, is a fan-shaped area where an ancient river once flowed into an ancient lake and deposited rocks and sediment.
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.
For more about Perseverance: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/
JPL manages MRO for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of Arizona, in Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, built and leads the CRISM instrument.