“Companion Traveler” Perseverance sets new records

(ORDO NEWS) — How to choose a rock on Mars? Sometimes he chooses you.

Over the past four months, Perseverance has found an unexpected traveling companion. Back in Sol 341 – that’s over 100 sols ago, in early February – a rock hit the rover’s front left wheel, and it’s traveled more than 5 miles since then.

This rock didn’t do any damage to the wheel, but throughout its (no doubt bumpy!) journey, it held on to it and appeared intermittently in the left Hazcam shots.

This is not the first time a rock has landed aboard a rover. About 18 years ago, a potato-sized rock hit the rear right wheel of the Spirit rover and had to be hauled out. On the Curiosity rover, the front right wheel periodically picks up a “fellow traveler”.

Although it is not known exactly how long these stones remained in the wheel, they usually “jumped off” after a few weeks. Thus, the current satellite Perseverance is already on its way to setting hitchhiking records on Mars.

“Favorite” Perseverance has seen a lot on its way. On Sol 341, she was still involved in the Crater Bottom campaign, where rocks that were part of the Máaz Formation were explored.

It is supposed to be composed of lava flows. If this rock could speak, it would tell us about the changes it noticed as it returned north through the landing site of Octavia E.

Butler and then west, passing the spectacular remnants of the former Kodiak Delta to the western Lake Delta. “Favorite” Perseverance is now far from home.

Where will this stone end its journey? It is possible that it may fall out at some point during the ascent along the rim of the crater.

If this happens, then he will land among the stones, which will be very different from himself. As one team member said this week, “We could confuse a future Martian geologist who finds him out of place!”

So if you’re a Martian geologist from the future reading this, or perhaps a Martian graduate student tasked with mapping the historic site of Lake Jezero Crater: listen. If you find a stone that is different from the rest located nearby, you may have a Perseverance once “favorite” in front of you.


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