PIA24940: WATSON's View of Dourbes in Mars' Jezero Crater
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars 2020 Rover
 Spacecraft:  Perseverance
 Instrument:  Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) 
 Product Size:  1280 x 956 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  Malin Space Science Systems
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA24940.tif (3.673 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA24940.jpg (285.5 kB)

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This close-up view of a rock target named "Dourbes" was provided by the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA's Perseverance Mars rover. WATSON took a series of eight fully-shadowed images on Nov. 5, 2021, the 253rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission, and the images were subsequently merged to create this view.

Before drilling rocks, the rover abrades the rock surface using a tool on its robotic arm to clear away dust and weathering rinds, allowing other instruments to study the rocks in detail. The abraded patch is 2 inches (5 centimeters) in diameter. Perseverance subsequently acquired two rock core samples from this outcrop, called "Brac," which forms part of the "South Séítah" geologic unit of Jezero Crater.

The WATSON image shows that the abrasion patch is dominated by discrete areas of light-toned material, with subordinate brown, dark-toned interstitial areas. The chemistry and mineralogy of the abrasion patch was analysed by a series of co-registered observations using the SuperCam, Mastcam-Z, PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), and SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instruments.

Figure 1 is a detail of the natural surface outside of the abrasion patch. This reveals distinct gray, angular grains or crystals that are 1 to 2 millimeters across. They are commonly clumped together and resemble the gray angular grains in the SuperCam target "Cine."

Figures 2 and 3 show other detailed views from this rock.

A subsystem of an instrument called SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), WATSON can document the structure and texture within a drilled or abraded target, and its data can be used to derive depth measurements. WATSON was built by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) in San Diego and is operated jointly by MSSS and JPL.

A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance:



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