The Perseverance rover captures a view of the Belva Crater of Mars


The Perseverance rover captures a view of the Belva Crater of Mars

The 152 images that make up the Belva Crater mosaic were taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars spacecraft on April 22, 2023, the 772nd Mars Day, or sol day of the mission. Belva is a 0.6-mile-wide (0.9 kilometer wide) impact crater within the much larger Jezero Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

The Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover recently collected 152 images while digging deep into Belva Crater, a large crater within the much larger Jezero Crater. Collated into an exciting mosaic, the results are not only eye-catching, but also provide the rover’s science team with some deep insights into the interior of Jezero.

“Mars rover missions typically end up exploring bedrock in small, flat exposures in the rover’s immediate workspace,” said Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist for Perseverance at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “This is why our science team has been so eager to image and study Belva. Impact craters can provide fantastic views and vertical cuts that provide important clues to the origin of these rocks from a perspective and on a scale we don’t normally experience.”

On Earth, geology professors often take their students to visit the “highways”—the places where construction crews have cut vertically into the rock to make room for roads—that allow them to view rock layers and others geological features not visible on the surface. on Mars impact etching Such as Belva can provide a kind of natural way.

Past water signs

Perseverance captured the images of the basin on April 22 (Martian Day 772, or the mission’s sol) while parked just west of the Belva Crater rim on a light-colored rocky outcrop that the mission’s science team calls “Echo Creek.” The roughly 0.6 mile wide (0.9 kilometer wide) crater was created by a meteorite impact eons ago, and reveals multiple locations of exposed bedrock as well as an area where sedimentary layers Steep angle.

The Perseverance rover captures a view of the Belva Crater of Mars

The pattern on the Perseverance mosaic from Belva Crater can be best viewed with red and blue 3D glasses. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

These “dipping pools” could indicate a large sandbar on Mars, made of sediment, deposited billions of years ago by a river channel that flowed into the lake that the Yezero Crater once held.

The science team suspects that the large boulders in the foreground are either chunks of bedrock exposed from the meteor impact or may have been carried into the crater by the river system. Scientists will search for answers by continuing to compare features in the bedrock near the rover with the larger-scale rock layers visible in the crater walls farther away.

To aid in these efforts, the expedition also created a relief or three-dimensional version of the mosaic. Patterning can help us visualize the geological relationships between crater “Wall protrusions,” Stack said, “but they also provide an opportunity to simply enjoy a great view.” As I look at this mosaic through red and blue 3D glasses, I am transported to the western edge of Belva, and I wonder what future astronauts would think if they were to stand where Perseverance once stood when I took this shot.”

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