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Sample Tally for the Crater Floor Campaign

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its Left Mastcam-Z camera. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mast.
Mars Perseverance Sol 377 - Left Mastcam-Z Camera: Mastcam-Z image of Perseverance’s most recent rock core sample named ‘Atsah,’ the final sample of our crater floor collection. Mastcam-Z acquired this image just prior to the rock core being transferred to the Adaptive Caching Assembly (ACA) for processing.

Perseverance has spent a little over one Earth year in Jezero crater. In the last week, the team reached a very special milestone as we officially completed our first science campaign focused on the Jezero crater floor.

During our crater floor campaign, we kept Perseverance busy! As we learned more about our surroundings, we characterized the rocks that make up the crater floor into two formations, both of which we believe to be igneous in origin. A formation is a geologic term for a sequence of rock large enough to be mapped at the surface and be distinguishable from other formations.

The first formation that Perseverance encountered is the Máaz formation, and within it, we abraded 4 rocks and sealed 6 sample tubes. These tubes contain 4 rock core samples, an atmospheric sample, and a witness sample (meant for contamination assessment). From the second crater floor formation, the Séítah formation, we performed abrasions on 3 rocks and filled 4 sample tubes, all of which contain rock core samples. All of this hard work has brought our total sample tube tally to 10 following our investigation of the Jezero crater floor.

Up next for Perseverance is a phase we refer to as Rapid Traverse, or, more colloquially, our “drive, drive, drive” campaign. As the names suggest, during this phase, it’s full-steam ahead; we’ll be trying to make as much drive progress on each sol as we can, with the goal of reaching the location of our next science campaign as expeditiously as possible. While Perseverance is driving, the science team is busy pre-planning for our next campaign, which will take place at the Jezero crater delta. As a member of the science operations team, I’m involved in the both the development and execution of our sampling strategy and the campaign planning process for our upcoming delta campaign. I feel a deep sense of connection to the samples that Perseverance collects in Jezero crater, and I’m very excited to see what the delta holds for us!

Written by Rachel Kronyak, Systems Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory