Perseverance falls on organic molecules in Jezero crater

Perseverance falls on organic molecules in Jezero crater

Amid a number of findings announced at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, researchers have revealed that the Martian Jezero crater was formed from molten volcanic magma. Organic molecules have also been isolated by the rovers in certain rocks on Mars.

Organic Molecules Isolated by Perseverance on Mars

First of all, whoever says “organic molecules” doesn’t necessarily say “proof of life”. These compounds simply provide carbon and hydrogen bonds It is also formed by non-biological processes. Moreover, such particles have been identified several times on the surface of Mars recently. by rover curiosity.

However, this new discovery made in the core of the Jezero Crater (which is filled with water) is significant. In fact, it proves that the rocks analyzed by the chariot of persistence can protect these compounds. By extension, we can then imagine that organic matter, if it exists at all, It can also be preserved.

The discovery was made using the Raman & Luminescence for Organic Materials and Chemicals Survey (or SHERLOC for short). This is one of the main tools of the rover. Particles of this type have been identified in the rocks that the probe dug up in order to collect samples, as well as in the surrounding dust. Future analyzes will be done to try this Determine how these organic materials are produced.

A rock hewn by a persistent rover. Credit: NASA/JPL

A crater once lined with lava

Another instrument from Perseverance’s Planetary X-ray Chemistry Lithography Instrument (or PIXL), has also allowed researchers to learn more about the bedrock of Jezero Crater. After taking a carrot in an area called “Brak”, the PIXL data clearly showed the presence of olivine crystals embedded in the pyroxene crystals.

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On Earth, such a mineral composition is of fiery origin. In other words, it was the bottom of the Jezero crater Made up of hot magma.

« A good student of geology will tell you that such texture indicates that rocks formed when crystals grew and settled in cold magma, for example, a thick lava flow, a lava lake, or a magma chamber‘ , explains Ken Farley, of the California Institute of Technology.

This rock has subsequently been altered by water on several occasions. Therefore, its analysis will allow scientists to better understand the history of this crater.

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