Perseverance's Rock Core From 'Berea' Outcrop
This image shows a cylinder of rock the size of a piece of classroom chalk inside the drill of NASA's Perseverance rover. The sample was taken from an outcrop called "Berea" in Mars' Jezero Crater. The image was captured by Perseverance's Mastcam-Z instrument on March 30, 2023, the 749th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
Each core the rover takes is about 0.5 inches (13 millimeters) in diameter and 2.4 inches (60 millimeters) long. The samples Perseverance has taken are from an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater, a fan-shaped area where, billions of years ago, a river once flowed into a lake and deposited rocks and sediment. These rock cores have been sealed in ultra-clean sample tubes and stored in Perseverance's Sampling and Caching System as part of the mission's search for ancient signs of microbial life.
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 Niels 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.
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/
For more about the Mars Sample Return campaign: mars.nasa.gov/msr