Mars rover emits rear panoramic view of landing site


The first high-resolution panorama showing the Perseverance Mars roverThe landing site provides a very detailed view of Jezero crater, including the jagged rim of the crater in the distance and the low cliffs that mark the edge of an ancient river delta.

The panorama consists of 142 images captured by the Mastcam-Z camera instrument over the weekend, three days after the rover’s dramatic landing.

Click on the image below to zoom in and explore the landscape.

The dual zoom camera system is mounted on a remote sensing pole and is capable of rotating a full 360 degrees to provide panoramic color images and 3D images. It is capable of detecting something as small as a house fly throughout a soccer field.

“I’m taking it all in,” the rover’s Twitter account reported Wednesday. “This is the first 360-degree view of my house using Mastcam-Z.”

Perseverance landed last Thursday in a crater that once held a body of water the size of Lake Tahoe. Billions of years ago, water entered the crater through a channel that ran through the crater rim, depositing sediment in a wide delta formation as it filled the crater to a depth of hundreds of feet.

The water disappeared about three billion years ago, but the sediments may contain preserved remains of ancient microbial life. Perseverance was designed to collect promising rock and soil samples that will be deposited on the surface for another rover to retrieve later this decade. The samples will then be put into orbit to be captured by a European spacecraft that bring them back to earth for detailed analysis.

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The wind-sculpted rock in the inset shows the level of detail that the Mastcam-Z instrument can provide.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS


The Mastcam-Z panorama looks across the crater floor, showing the sheer rim of Jezero in the distance and the eroded cliffs that mark the edge of the delta formation. Close abrasion marks where rocket exhaust columns hit the surface Perseverance was being lowered upon landing for his jet pack “sky crane”.

“We are located in an ideal place, where you can see different features similar in many ways to features found by (early explorers) Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity at their landing sites,” said lead researcher Jim Bell of State University. from Arizona. . ASU operates Mastcam-Z in collaboration with Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego.

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Perseverance looks towards the edge of the Jezero crater.

NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS


One goal of the initial imaging campaign is to identify relatively flat, rock-free areas where a small helicopter, still attached to the belly of the rover, can be left for tests to determine whether it is feasible to fly in the thin Martian atmosphere.

Initial test flights are expected in about two months.

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