About the size of a car, the 1,026 kg geology and astrobiology robot will undergo several weeks of testing before beginning a two-year scientific investigation of Mars’ Jezero Crater. Besides studying rocks and sediments from Jezero’s ancient river deltas and lake beds to characterize the region’s past geology and climate, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.
About 45 kilometers wide, Jezero Crater lies at the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. Scientists have determined that 3.5 billion years ago this crater had its own river delta and was filled with water.
Equipped with seven core science instruments, the largest number of cameras ever sent to Mars, and its highly sophisticated sample storage system – the first of its kind sent into space – Perseverance will scour the Jezero region in search of Fossil remains of ancient microbial life on Mars, and collecting samples.
Paving the way for humanity’s quests
Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z camera can produce high-resolution, color 3D panoramas of the Martian landscape. Additionally, SuperCam uses pulsed lasers to study the chemistry of rocks and sediments, and has its own microphone to help scientists better understand the properties of rocks, including their hardness.
RIMFAX is the first ground-penetrating radar on the surface of Mars and will be used to determine how the different layers on the surface of Mars formed over time. The data could help pave the way for future sensors to search for underground ice deposits.
Additionally, Perseverance’s other instruments will attempt to produce oxygen from the Red Planet’s thin, mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere; provides key information on current Martian weather, climate and dust; reconnaissance or transportation of cargo to future astronauts far from their home base.
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Short translation from Space.com