How Perseverance’s PIXL Gets Close to a Rock Target – NASA Mars Exploration

December 12, 2023

This time-lapse video, which has been sped up by 24 occasions, makes use of an engineering mannequin of one of many devices aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover to indicate how the instrument evaluates secure placement in opposition to a rock. If it’s decided to be secure, the rover locations the instrument, referred to as the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), near the focused rock for science observations. This take a look at occurred at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California on June 8, 2023.

Situated on the top of Perseverance’s robotic arm, PIXL scans postage stamp-size areas on rocks with an X-ray beam the width of a human hair, figuring out which components are current. Scientists use this data to deduce what minerals and chemical substances are in a rock and assist determine whether or not Perseverance ought to gather a rock core utilizing its drill.

The X-ray beam exits the round opening on the heart of PIXL; coloured LED lights round that circle can mild up a floor, permitting an inside digital camera to take photographs. These photographs enable PIXL to autonomously place itself – very slowly and exactly – as little as 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) away from a floor to gather its knowledge.

A key goal for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, together with the seek for indicators of historic microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and previous local weather, pave the way in which for human exploration of the Crimson Planet, and be the primary mission to gather and cache Martian rock and regolith (damaged rock and mud).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European House Company), would ship spacecraft to Mars to gather these sealed samples from the floor and return them to Earth for in-depth evaluation.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is a part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration method, which incorporates Artemis missions to the Moon that can assist put together for human exploration of the Crimson Planet.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the company by Caltech in Pasadena, California, constructed and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

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