NASA releases panoramic photo of 'Jezero' crater in Mars, once containing a deep lake

NASA releases panoramic photo of 'Jezero' crater in Mars, once containing a deep lake
This is the first 360-degree panorama taken by Mastcam-Z, a zoomable pair of cameras aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. The panorama was stitched together on Earth from 142 individual images taken on Sol 3, from the third Martian day of the mission (Feb. 21, 2021). Credit: NASA

NASA on Wednesday released a spectacular panoramic photo of Mars taken by the Perseverance rover of the surrounding where the rover landed last week.

The photo, which is reconstructed from several images taken by the vehicle, shows the ridge of Jezero crater, which scientists say contained a deep lake into which a river flowed about 3.5 billion years ago.

The rover has taken 360-degree images with the high-definition cameras installed on its mast.

Credit: NASA

"We are located at a very good site, from where we can see very similar observations of those found by Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity (three rovers previously sent to the red planet)," Jim Bell from the University of Arizona, said.

One of Nasa’s explicit goal is to find traces of ancient life on the red planet. The ‘Perseverance’ rover will collect up to thirty rock samples during a period of at least two years.

Cameras on the rover will help scientists on Earth determine the geological history and atmospheric conditions of the crater, while identifying the rocks and sediments that will be brought back to Earth. The rover will become the first ever to send Mars samples back to Earth.

“We are in a position now where if everything goes according to plan, samples will be coming back to Earth in 2031.” Ken Farley, the mission's project scientist said in a statement earlier this month.

So far, NASA has already released one exceptional video and one audio recording captured by the rover.

The video shows the landing recorded from all angles, and the sound is of a gust of Martian wind, the first audio ever recorded from the red planet by a microphone.

The Brussels Times

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