Astronomers thought it was sedimentary, but new data brought back to Earth by NASA’s Perseverance rover shows that the rocks it’s been rolling on since arriving on Mars in February 2020 were formed from volcanic material. Lava may have flowed there in the past and this is completely unexpected news.
This is thanks to the Pixl tool – for Planetary instrument for X-ray petrochemistry Researchers have finally found the answer. The purpose of the instrument is to determine the elemental composition of materials in by lithochemistry . It takes advantage of the holes provided by the drill installed at the end of the arm perseverance. This can, in fact, scrape or grind rocky surfaces.
Volcanic rocks in Jezero crater
A few days ago, a rock nicknamed Brak and captured in the south of Sitah revealed its composition: large crystals ofPyroxene crystals are soaked in unusual quantities. A rock mark formed from crystals deposited in a slow cooling pool.
The researchers add that the rocks in question were then exposed to repeated water weathering. This makes it a treasure that will allow future scholars to chronicle the events that occurred in Jezero crater, to understand the period in which it was Revealing the beginnings of the history of Mars, identifies Ken Farley, a researcher on the team, in a NASA press release. It remains to be determined whether these olive-rich rocks formed in a lake Heavy cooling on the surface or in an underground room that was subsequently subjected to corrosion.
Because Perseverance also aims to sample Martian rocks – in particular to search for traces of life – intended to be brought back to Earth by another mission. What to study in more detail the respective samples.
Exciting Preliminary Results
The researchers took advantage of a press conference on Wednesday to also mention that a machine called Sherlock – for Scanning habitable environments with Raman & Luminescence for organics and chemicals – In the meantime, I got organic particles, not only in eroded rocks, but also in uncorroded rock dust. “It is sufficient to map the spatial distribution of organic matter within the rocks and to relate these organic matter to itThis is right there. This helps us understand the environment in which organic matter was formed. Further analysis is required to determine how these molecules are produced.”, identifies Luther Beagle, responsible for Project Sherlock. So there is no certainty yet regarding the proof of life. But it seems that the presence of preserved organic matter at least means that potential bio-fingerprints can also be preserved. To find out more, we will have to wait for the samples to return to Earth.
Meanwhile, scientists also continue to use data sent by Rimfax – to Radar imaging of the Mars subsurface experiment -, the “radar” on which underground structures appear from Its depth reaches 10 meters. They already made it possible to confirm that an intermediate region formed before a region The rough pit floor broke. And they should soon bring other valuable information about Martian.