The Perseverance Rover had to walk erratically across the deserts of Mars to avoid encroaching on its mission, just like the Fremen did in Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic sci-fi novel Dune.
Perseverance’s Most Surprising Mars Discovery: Discoveries made by Perseverance on Mars have surprised the scientific community each time they have been made.
Perseverance had come to Mars to find samples of alien life beneath the planet’s surface but had had to struggle with the pitfalls of Martian geology.
Thankfully, it managed to collect its first rock sample after a year on the planet.
Unfortunately, when Mars and Earth are perfectly opposite to each other, communication between the planets becomes impossible.
Hence, NASA had to wait for these orbital bodies to move apart before Perseverance could start communicating again.
What did the Perseverance rover discover about Mars?
On Mars, liquid water used to exist, according to the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. As a result of that discovery, NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered conditions that could have supported life 4 billion years ago on Mars. Now Perseverance will search directly for signs of past life.
NASA’s Perseverance rover was sent to the Jezero crater to study the history of the area. To do this, it needed to find a safe route through the sand dunes, so its sidekick Ingenuity was sent to scout the area.
Perseverance set off in early November 2021, exploring the dunes, and made it to the protruding rock known as Brac.
Perseverance’s technique had been honed, and it was able to obtain new samples. It was discovered that the rocks in the Jezero crater were actually igneous and that the presence of water and high mineral count rocks would have been perfect conditions for life.
Perseverance’s mission seemed to be going well until it hit unexpected resistance while transferring a sample from a rock outcropping to its bit carousel.
NASA used Perseverance’s cameras to peer inside the carousel and found four small pebbles blocking the sample from being stored. Perseverance started by taking photos of the ground below it and then emptying its core sample tube onto the floor.
This would allow scientists to count the new arrivals and make sure they matched up with what had previously been seen inside the carousel.
Perseverance began to wiggle, and by rotating its carousel, it was able to dislodge two of the offending pebbles right then and there.
The remaining pebbles were stubborn, so Perseverance took things up a notch and drove away, searching for a spot where the slope was steeper.