Contributed by Sarah Fagents

What’s not to love about a rock called Hedgehog? This enhanced color image was acquired on Sol 37 by the Mastcam-Z camera system.  Hedgehog is approximately 17 cm wide by 10 cm tall (10 x 6 inches) and was targeted because of its unusual holey texture. The dark-toned, relatively dust-free surface of this rock provides a good opportunity to acquire compositional data that will help us determine the origin of the rock and learn something about the environment in which it formed. The holes could be an intrinsic characteristic of the rock present since formation, or they might be the result of extensive weathering of the rock over eons exposed at the surface. Some of the holes appear to be partly filled with bright orange dust. On the left side of the rock, a purple-ish fill or possibly coating is apparent. Keen eyes will spot the horizontal line of ten even-spaced small pits on the right half of the rock. This is where the SuperCam instrument used a technique called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to zap the rock with a laser and create a plasma from which we can determine the different elements present in the rock. Analysis of this and many other rocks in the vicinity of Perseverance’s landing site will ultimately reveal the history of the floor of Jezero Crater.

March 28, 2021

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