Perseverance rover scans the rock surface of ‘Bright Angel’ on Mars

The PIXL instrument of NASA's Perseverance rover investigates the rock surface of Bright Angel
The PIXL instrument of NASA’s Perseverance rover investigates the rock surface of Bright Angel. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which has been exploring the Jezero crater of Mars since 2021, successfully scanned the rock surface of the long-awaited area of Bright Angel through its PIXL instrument.

Bright Angel is a place located on the edge of the ancient Martian river channel Neretva Vallis and is named due to its unique light-toned color. The Perseverance rover reached here on June 9, 2024, to find exciting geologic features in the ancient river channel.

Related article: NASA’s rover on Mars reaches a new area called ‘Bright Angel’

The PIXL instrument (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), which is mounted at the end of the robotic arm of Perseverance, emitted an X-ray beam to identify chemical elements in the rocks of Bright Angel.

The PIXL instrument helps scientists look for signs of past microbial life on Mars. The instrument is able to send about 2 megabytes of data per day.

Now, the Perseverance science team will take time to understand the data obtained at Bright Angel and compare it with the past samples Perseverance collected.

After that, the science team will determine whether the robotic arm will drill the surface of Bright Angel to collect samples.

If the sample found at Bright Angel is collected, then it will be the rover’s 25th sample out of 38.

In the future, these 38 rock sample tubes will be collected and brought back to Earth through the Mars Sample Return Mission.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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