NASA's Perseverance Rover Looks Towards the Delta, Has Its Eyes on the Next Target

NASA Perseverance rover sees the delta 6 photos
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Perseverance prepares to explore the Martian deltaPerseverance prepares to explore the Martian deltaPerseverance prepares to explore the Martian deltaPerseverance prepares to explore the Martian deltaPerseverance prepares to explore the Martian delta
After a long journey moving around the Séítah region on Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover has finally arrived at the ancient river delta – a place from where it will collect samples that could possibly reveal more about our neighbor's past. But the path ahead is complex, and it will have to make several choices to explore the delta.
On April 18th, Perseverance officially began the Delta Front Campaign, its second scientific campaign since it touched down on Mars. Like its previous mission, the rover will focus on investigating a certain region and collect several rock samples along the way. It will also send back images of the new area of exploration and help scientists better characterize it.

The Delta Front Campaign will last around six months. During this time, Perseverance will travel up and down the delta of the Jezero Crater. It will navigate 130 ft (40 meters) and will drill cores into the layered rocks. Since these sediments were formed billions of years ago when a river carried material into the crater, they might have trapped ancient microbial life, and it's a great opportunity for Perseverance to collect samples of them.

Scientists want to get a better understanding of Jezero's previous environment by analyzing the delta's structure, mineralogy, and organic chemistry, as well as identifying cores that can be sent back to Earth on a future mission.

But the fan-shaped delta is not easy to explore. In the first part of the campaign, Perseverance will try to cross the Cannery Passage, which is an area that makes the transition between the crater floor's edge and the delta. Next, it will choose between two possible paths to climb to the top of the delta, nicknamed by scientists Cape Nukshak and Hawksbill Gap.

After selecting the ideal path (which will happen once it gets closer to the route and get a better view), Perseverance will explore the ancient layers and gather on its way several samples. Then it will climb the delta and will try to get to the top to start its next campaign: the Delta Top.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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