In a remarkable milestone, NASA's Perseverance rover has acquired some beautiful images of the ridges of 'South Sétah.' The spacecraft took the photo last month after completing a record 190-yard (175-meter) drive.

Because it may contain some of the deepest and perhaps oldest rocks in the vast crater, exploring the geologic unit was one of the main goals of the team's initial science campaign.

My Favorite Martian Image: the Ridges of 'South Séítah'
(Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)
Perseverance Rover's View of 'South Séítah': Composed of 84 enhanced-color images, this mosaic features a rover’s-eye view of the ‘South Séítah’ geologic unit of Mars’ Jezero Crater.

NASA Perseverance Rover Takes Photo of South Séítah's Ridges

Perseverance obtained a colorful photograph of the South Seitah region of Jezero Crater, according to a recent NASA update. On Sept. 12, the rover stopped on a high overlook just beyond its South Sétah entrance point (the 201st Martian day, or sol, of the mission). The Mastcam-Z camera system took the shot.

The mosaic was captured at the maximum magnification and extended to reveal minor color variations in the rocks and dirt. The gray, deeper gray, and Swiss-coffee-colored rocky outcrops of the ridge dubbed "Faillefeu" are located to the left of the center and halfway up the picture (after a medieval abbey in the French Alps). The research team would have been interested in the notably thin, tilted layering at times in some of Faillefeu's rocks since slanted layering implies the likelihood of tectonic activity. Similar structures and other intriguing geology could be seen on another ridgeline that the mission's research team chose to investigate instead.

The "Martre Ridge," named after a town in southern France, is three times the size of Faillefeu. It includes low-lying flat rocks near the ridge's base and rocky outcrops with thin layering and large caprocks close and at the ridge's top. The caprocks generally form a more rigid, more resistant material than those piled below them, suggesting that the material was deposited differently.

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Jorge Núñez of NASA's Perseverance rover team explained in a report that the photo underscores the area's size and all of the exploring opportunities available in South Sétah. He added that each of the several fascinating rocky outcrops and ridgelines appears better than before.

Perseverance Rover's Goal

Astrobiology, particularly the hunt for evidence of ancient microbial life, is a primary goal for Perseverance's mission on Mars. The rover will investigate the planet's geology and climate history, paving the way for future human missions to Mars and be the first mission to collect and store Martian rock and regolith.

Following NASA missions, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), experts would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for further examination.

Perseverance is part of NASA's Moon to Mars exploration plan, which includes the Artemis lunar missions to help prepare for human exploration of Mars.

JPL developed and operated the Perseverance rover, administered for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California.

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