Sometimes, as different orbits orbit Mars, they find their ground-based friends far below.
In a new image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Perseverance makes a guest appearance. From hundreds of kilometers above the Red Planet, the rover is visible as a small speck in the Sita region south of Jezero Crater.
It’s an image that shows the very different instruments we’ve been using to explore the mysterious planet, both from afar and very close indeed.
MRO’s mission, which has been in orbit since 2006, is primarily to study the atmosphere and large-scale geology of Mars.
To a lesser extent, it is also helping ground-based missions – the rovers Curiosity and Perseverance, and the stationary, earthquake-monitoring Mars InSight lander.
Curiosity’s mission is to explore Gale Crater on Mars to learn more about the planet’s climate and geology, and the history of both, as well as help us assess whether Mars is hospitable to life.
Persistence, on the other hand, in addition to collecting more data on the climate and geology of Mars, works specifically to look for signs of life, such as the fossils of microbes that would have emerged when Mars was a wetter location than Mars. Was. Today.
The South Sita area consists of a series of ridges covered with sand dunes and interspersed with stones and rock fragments. Persistence has just collected a sample of the rock to be returned to Earth by future missions; That sample was collected from a relatively young region of Mars. South Sittah is considered very old, and therefore should provide an interesting contrast.
Upon arrival in South Sittah in August, Perseverance sent its helicopter, Ingenuity, to take images so that the Perseverance team could assess whether the area was worth further exploration.
However, further science will have to wait. Currently, Mars is in opposition – that is, on the opposite side of the Sun from Earth, an event that occurs every two years.
During this time, communication between the Mars mission and Earth is blocked by our star. We won’t be able to receive or send broadcasts until mid-October.
We hope that the Rovers, Landers and Orbiters are all enjoying their holidays.