US: NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured a stunning image of Martian rocks spread across a swathe of barren land. Some of the rocks appear covered by sand, suggesting it was quite windy just before the rover captured the image.
“Making some accidental zen art as I drive. Mars may be desolate, but it has a certain charm,” the rover tweeted from its official handle.
According to NASA, the photo was voted by public as the “image of the week” for April 24 to 30. It was captured by Perseverance’s Right Mastcam-Z camera.
Mastcam-Z, a pair of cameras placed on the rover’s mast, can take colour images and video, 3D stereo images, and has a powerful zoom lens. These cameras are placed next to each other and point in the same direction, providing a 3-D view similar to what human eyes would see, only better. In January this year, a large dust storm covered the southern hemisphere of Mars, leading to some of NASA probes on the Martian surface hitting a pause. In fact, the Insight lander had to put itself to “safe mode” to conserve battery power after the storm prevented the sunlight from reaching its solar panels. And Perseverance’s partner the Ingenuity helicopter had to postpone flights until conditions improved.