Perseverance Mars Rover shares latest selfie; NASA asks people to find lightsab

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover has shared a selfie on Twitter asking people if they can find the lightsab in the picture.

| Updated on: Jan 26 2023, 16:25 IST
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NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover
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NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover
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Check NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover selfie here. (NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover Twitter)

NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover has been quite busy. However, after a busy schedule, the rover has now shared a selfie on its Twitter handle asking people to find lightsab (sample tubes) in the image. Sharing the image, it wrote, "If you've been following along, you know I've been busy in the last few weeks, setting down some very special items for possible return to Earth via #MarsSampleReturn. How many lightsab…I mean sample tubes can you spot in my latest selfie?"

Following the question to find the tube, the Perseverance Mars Rover shared another image saying, "We've got some good sample hunters in the comments! Many can pick out two tubes fairly easily by following my tracks. And if you download the high-res selfie you might spot several more. (The one shown directly in front of me in the pic sits at position #9 in this overhead map.)"

It can be known that the rover took a selfie with several of the 10 sample tubes it deposited at a sample depot it is creating within an area of Jezero Crater nicknamed "Three Forks." The image was taken by the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera on the end of the rover's robotic arm on January 20, 2023, the 682nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission, NASA Science Mars Exploration said.

The ninth tube dropped during the construction of the depot, containing the sample the science team refers to as "Atsah," can be seen in front of the rover. Other sample tubes are visible in the background.

The selfie is composed of 56 individual WATSON images that were stitched together once they were sent back to Earth. The Curiosity rover takes similar selfies using a camera on its robotic arm.

The depot marks a crucial milestone in the NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Mars Sample Return campaign that aims to bring Mars samples to Earth for closer study. The depot will serve as a backup if Perseverance can't deliver its samples to a future robotic lander.

A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

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First Published Date: 26 Jan, 16:25 IST