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    128 days ago

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    “We had been eyeing the river channel just to the north as we went, hoping to find a section where the dunes were small and far enough apart for a rover to pass between.”

    In the distance, Perseverance’s operators could see the glimmer of its next destination: Bright Angel, so named for the light-toned outcrops that may be ancient rocks uncovered by the previously running river.

    After days of slogging, the decision was made to reroute Perseverance across a dune field and through the river channel.

    “We had been eyeing the river channel just to the north as we went, hoping to find a section where the dunes were small and far enough apart for a rover to pass between,” said Evan Graser, an engineer who helps plan Perseverance’s route, in a statement.

    Where earlier Mars rovers required total control from Earth, Perseverance’s guides can give it a general route, and AutoNav will handle the minute-to-minute steering.

    In the midst of the channel Perseverance encountered the so-called Mount Washburn, a rocky hill that presented scientists with exciting geological opportunities.


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