“Perseverance Valley” lies just on the other side of the dip in the crater rim visible in this view from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, which arrived at this destination in early May 2017 in preparation for driving down the valley. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has reached the main objective of its current two-year extended mission, an ancient fluid-carved valley on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. As Opportunity approached the upper end of “Perseverance Valley,” the rover’s cameras began capturing images of the area at greater resolution than what can be taken by spacecraft orbiting Mars.
“The science team is really jazzed at starting to see this area up close and looking for clues to help us distinguish among multiple hypotheses about how the valley formed,” said Opportunity Project Scientist Matt Golombek of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Scientists have yet to identify the process that carved Perseverance Valley into the rim of Endeavour Crater billions of years ago. The possibilities include flowing water, a debris flow in which a small amount of water lubricated a mix of mud and boulders, or a process that didn’t include ...