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The Rocks on Mars that Shocked Perseverance Scientists the Most

NASA’s Perseverance rover is a robotic vehicle that was launched on July 30, 2020, as part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The rover landed on Mars on February 18, 2021, in Jezero Crater, a location that was chosen for its potential to preserve ancient microbial life.

Perseverance is about the size of a car and is equipped with advanced scientific instruments and tools to study the Martian environment and search for signs of past microbial life. Its primary mission is to collect and store rock and soil samples that will be returned to Earth by a future mission, possibly as early as 2031.

The rover is also equipped with a suite of cameras, including the Mastcam-Z, a high-resolution camera system that can zoom in on objects and features up to 3 miles (5 kilometers) away. It also has a suite of scientific instruments, including the SuperCam, which can analyze the chemical and mineral composition of rocks and soil from a distance.

In addition to its scientific instruments, Perseverance carries the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity, a small, experimental rotorcraft that will be used to demonstrate the first powered flight on Mars.

Perseverance is designed to operate for at least one Martian year, or about 687 Earth days, but could potentially continue operating for much longer. Its mission is part of NASA’s broader goal to explore and study Mars, with the ultimate aim of sending humans to the Red Planet in the future.

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