Images from the Perseverance mars rover’s navigation cameras were stitched together at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to produce a stark vista looking across the floor of Jezero Crater where rocks may preserve traces of ancient microbial life. The images were captured on 3 July, showing the rover’s tracks after an autonomous drive. The spacecraft is poised to collect its first sample of martian rock and soil, pristine material that will be sealed and left on the surface, along with other samples collected later. NASA and the European Space Agency plan to launch missions later this decade to retrieve the cached samples and bring them back to Earth for detailed laboratory analysis.
A new study has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time. Using data from NASA’s Curiosity rover, the team behind Mars Science Laboratory has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed on 6 August 2012.