NASA shared on Wednesday (31) the curious image of a small Martian rock that was the subject of study by Perseverance, a rover that arrived on the Red Planet in February. In the photo, you can see the holes made by the robot’s laser, used to analyze the stone.
“While the helicopter is getting ready, I can’t help checking the nearby rocks. This stranger (the rock) made my science team exchange many hypotheses. It is about 15 cm. If you look closely, you can see the row of laser marks where I destroyed them to find out more, ”wrote the space agency on Perseverance’s official Twitter account.
As the image below shows, the Mars rock has huge holes. At first, many may think that they were caused by laser shots, but in fact the perforations caused by the equipment are much smaller and can only be identified if you look at the photo carefully.
The holes in the Perseverance laser are in the right corner of the stone, characterized by a row of tiny round marks (see the exact area indicated in red in the photo). It was in this part that the SuperCam instrument fired the beams and heated the rock to a very high temperature, so that a special camera could analyze the resulting vapors and identify their chemical composition.
Looking for signs of microbial life
In early March, the rover did a job similar to this, by firing the beam at a rock that was 3 meters away from it. NASA even released the sounds of Perseverance’s laser shots, similar to the “ticking” of a watch.
The research done that day on a different rock formation, nicknamed “Máaz”, showed that the target reached was composed of basalt, igneous or volcanic rocks common on the surface of Mars and also on Earth.