NASA has shared the largest and most accurate image of the surface of Mars

This week, NASA shared the most detailed images ever taken on the surface of Mars. The image is not as stunning as the compositions sent back by the James Webb Space Telescope, but it is surprising for the size and sharpness with which the surface of the Red Planet is observed.
This 2.5-billion-pixel panoramic image was taken by the Perseverance Rover on the Jezero Crater Delta, and it surpasses all images taken on Mars.

Jesero Crater. The far left celestial point is the rover. (NASA/Via Bulletin).

In addition to the image, NASA has released a video tour of the image in which a member of the science operations team at Perseverance shows stunning views of a landscape filled with boulders, hills, cliffs, and paths where the rover was spinning.
Although the images look like a desert, NASA scientists note that many of the fine-grained sedimentary rocks photographed at the surface are often very good places to look for signs of ancient life.

Image of Mars shared by Perseverance. (Image: NASA)

Brutal image size

The new panorama sent by the rover has an extraordinary size: 2.5 billion pixels. The image’s dimension dwarfs the previous record holder, a 1.8 billion-pixel panorama of Gale Crater taken by Curiosity in 2020.
According to persistence scientists, the new panorama consists of 1,118 single images taken in June by the in-car Mastcam-Z, the car’s head-mounted camera system.

What we see in the panorama of Mars

Perseverance images show an ancient river delta at Jazero Crater, an area on Mars where scientists believe a river flowed into a lake billions of years ago, depositing rock and sediment in a fan-shaped pattern.
Researchers and experts say delta regions are the best places on Mars to look for possible signs of ancient microbial life.

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The video shared by NASA goes through the image sent by the Perseverance spacecraft in detail:

(Video: YouTube/NASA)

The importance of the new image

The sedimentary rocks that appear in the panorama are of great interest to scientists. In addition to photographing the site, NASA has confirmed that it has collected samples that it can return to Earth in the future. This will allow for detailed laboratory studies to be carried out as part of the search for signs of ancient life.

The goal of the perseverance mission

Astrobiology is one of the main goals of the Perseverance mission to Mars, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The probe’s mission is to describe the geology and climate of the planet in the past, paving the way for human exploration of the planet.

Perseverance will be the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks. (Photo: NASA/JPL-CALTECH)

Next NASA missions

In cooperation with the European Space Agency ESA, NASA plans to send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for further analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is also part of NASA’s new focus on space exploration, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon to help prepare for a human visit to the Red Planet.

Lovell Loxley

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