NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Is All Selfies And Rainbows

by Kareena Dodeja

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Is All Selfies And Rainbows

April 17, 2021

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover has been on a roll. It can take a selfie and maybe, better than us. The Rover has been clicking pictures with the Ingenuity Helicopter as well which makes it quite the self-portrait artist The Rover has been in the headlines for its rainbow image that went viral which we will debunk. Find out what is behind the rainbow!

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Chasing Rainbows Or Lens Flares?

The new image of NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover showed that there was a rainbow but we are all mistaken. In the dry Martian weather conditions, it is impossible to experience a rainbow up there, right? The image went viral and everyone was talking about it. Many theories came up because it was quite bizarre. Let us debunk it.

It could have been a ‘dustbow’ caused by dust particles in the air or it could have been a lens flare that was caused by the light rays in the Perseverance’s Hazcam lens- these are some of the theories mentioned in the article by Futurism. Well, we asked and the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab answered.

The rainbow we saw was an artifact caused by the Hazcam’s lens. JPL Media Relations Specialist, Andrew Good mentioned to Futurism that it is a lens flare and the sunshades on front of the Hazcams were considered critical since they need them for driving forward and they usually drive forward. The Sunshades weren’t considered essential so we can see the scattered light artifacts in the images, according to Good.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover’s account on Twitter tweeted that a rainbow on mars would not be possible as they are created by light reflected off of round water droplets but there is not enough water there to condense and it is too cold for liquid in the atmosphere. The arc is a lens flare that turned out to be anti-climactic.

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Mars Rover Captured The Picture-Perfect Selfie

The selfie of the six-wheeled Mars Rover’s head has been the talk of the town. The picture was perfect as it was taken by the Perseverance’s WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering). It is a high-resolution camera that is meant for taking close-up pictures of rocks. The selfie is taken so well that we might want the same camera for our Instagram pictures oof.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover is one of the others which used a similar camera known as Mars Hands Lens Imager which takes selfies as well and is used for the same purpose of studying rocks up close too. NASA is working on getting the best angles up top. The close-up self-portrait isn’t enough; the rover’s full body is yet to be soon like Curiosity has taken previously.

NASA tweeted with the title ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bot’ which is an ode to the Irish author, James Joyce’s first novel which was titled ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ published in 2016. The title sparked Twitter conversations because of how witty it was and the self-portrait was a massive hit on social media.

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SHERLOC And WATSON- Private Detectives Of Rocks

An interesting fact is that the large lens element on the top right of the Perseverance’s head is referred to as the mast which is a SuperCam, a laser-equipped spectrometer that is primarily designed to study rock samples. The camera is made efficiently to study every detail about the rock’s textures. At the neck of it, they have attached the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyser which is designed to sense and monitor the weather conditions on Mars.

In addition to this, the images taken by WATSON will allow the scientists at NASA to study the minute mineral layers of Martian rocks to see how they were formed and changed over time. They are utilizing this selfie for many purposes, another one is in combination with sample analyses carried out by Perseverance’s SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organic and Chemicals).

SHERLOC is not the private detective but a smartphone-sized scientific instrument that uses spectroscopy to study the chemical properties of all the rocks. The principal investigator of SHERLOC, Luther Beegle said in a blog post that if we see organics clumping together on one part of the rock, it might be a sign that microbes thrived there in the past which is fascinating information.

Two Bots In One Picture

NASA’s Perseverance rover did not stop with the selfie but took a picture of the Ingenuity Helicopter. In the picture, it is landed on the ground to the left of the car-sized rover. The Perseverance used a camera attached to its robotic arm which is just like a selfie-stick to take 62 individual pictures which were later on made into one wide-angled group selfie. We all take 100 pictures just to get that one selfie, right? So does the rover.

On April 11, the Ingenuity Helicopter will attempt to fly at ten feet over the surface for 30 seconds. It is going to be legen-wait-for-it-dary as the Perseverance is ready to watch and take pictures of this historic event. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab Engineers will use the images to assess the first-ever flight on the surface of another planet. This historic moment will be noteworthy and the rover is all set to keep clicking.



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