Ph.D. student Ellie Moreland works with EEPS assistant professor Kirsten Siebach as a collaborating student on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) team for the Mars 2020 mission. She also helps with the scientific side of rover operations. Recently, the Perserverance rover was directed to begin the process of abrading a rock target with the intent to analyze the material with one of its analytical tools.
Planning any science activity on Mars is a careful, detailed process, taking time and precious power from the rover. Add the time lag for data delivery and return, combined with the inability to anticipate all possible outcomes means the science team has to be ready for Plan B. Ellie Moreland relates her experience following one very recent outcome with rocks at a location at the base of Jezero crater's delta called Enchanted Lake.
You can read her post 'A Broken Rock Won’t Break Our Team' on the The Mars 2020 blog.
The Mars 2020 blog is a self-selecting blog hosted on the JPL Mars 2020 mission website. Ellie volunteered to write a post about recent events that happened in operations and what she has learned after participating on the mission for a year.