New Perseverance rover photos from Mars show tantalizing layered rocks

These fascinatingly layered rocks could be a sampling target for NASA's Mars Rover Perseverance mission team members stated via Twitter. They posted this photo on Nov. 4, 20,21.
These stunningly layered Mars rocks could be the Perseverance Rover's next sampling target.

Perseverance snapped some great photos of the layers of rocks on Mars' Jezero Crater floor recently. Mission team members shared two of these photos via the official Twitter account of the rover.

"Stay stocked with these layers!" I'm getting out my abrading instrument to have a look inside. These layers of rocks can reveal clues about their past environments. "Let's see if it would be another great place for #SamplingMars," mission members wrote in a Thursday tweet.

Photos: NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover mission to the Red Planet

Perseverance, which landed in Mars' Jezero Crater floor on February 18, has one goal: to collect samples. The mission team hopes to capture several dozen tubes of Mars material. These will be returned to Earth in a NASA-European Space Agency joint campaign, possibly as soon as 2031.

The samples will be analyzed by scientists in laboratories around the globe, who will look for clues and signs of ancient Mars life.

Perseverance has already collected two samples. NASA's rover is currently searching for evidence of life on Jezero’s floor, and analyzing the geology in the area.

After a solar conjunction during which the sun blocked Mars' view from Earth, interplanetary communications were disrupted for several weeks, persistence only recently started to work again. Just over a week after the solar conjunction ended, hints of the layered rock filtered back to Earth. The rover started beaming images home from Earth with these hints.

Perseverance's flight companion, Ingenuity, could provide valuable context for the layered rock. Ingenuity also stopped operations during the conjunction, but returned to the air on Oct. 24, complete its 14th Martian flight.

Perseverance appears to have stayed the same distance on Mars as it did when it first sent images back to Earth last month. Perseverance is currently examining layers of rocks that the Perseverance rover team stops driving to do science.

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