(ORDO NEWS) — We did it! Mars rover Perseverance (Persistence) is in the delta and pleases us with stunning images.
Mars 2020 has officially retired from the “Fast Ride” mode, in which we pushed the pedal to the floor and focused on moving. This week we are returning to Standard Operations and the team is launching our Delta Front campaign.
However, we have not abandoned the “Crater Floor” campaign as we will explore the contact between the crater floor rocks and the rocks that make up the delta, as well as between the different types of crater floor rocks that we have named “Maaz” and “Seitah”.
The study of contacts – the boundaries between different rock types – is a very important way for geologists to understand the sequence of events.
Did one rock type gradually change into another, or was the change abrupt? Does the contact represent a change in the environment or in how the rocks were deposited?
Was there a long time gap between individual types of rocks? We can explore all these questions on contacts, and they will help us to better understand the history of the Jezero crater.
Analyzing rover data is one way to learn about Mars’ geologic past, but planetary geologists can also study “terrestrial counterparts.”
These are places on Earth where we can make valuable comparisons with what we see on other planets like Mars to help us understand their landscapes.
We enjoy hearing comparisons between Lake and Earth from members of our science team; most recently we have been discussing how the deposits of the Lake Delta might be similar to the deposits in one of the regions of Greece.
Over the next few months, we will be using the entire Perseverance toolkit for delta exploration. We expect to find rocks that are quite different from the igneous rocks (that is, formed from magma or lava) at the bottom of the crater.
During these studies, we will also sample some of the most interesting and astrobiologically promising breeds.
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