Planet Mars© UIG/ImagoNasa’s Mars rover “Perseverance” makes an amazing find. The discovery is causing enormous enthusiasm among the researchers.Frankfurt/Pasadena – Shortly after its arrival on the planet Mars* in February 2021, the NASA rover “Perseverance” sent the researchers data to Earth, which clarified a major Mars question : Was the Jezero crater where the rover landed once a lake? The researchers’ answer was yes. “This is the key observation that confirms once and for all that there was a lake and a river delta at the Jezero crater,” said scientist Nicolas Mangold in a NASA statement. Now the US space agency is publishing the next surprise discovered by the rover on Mars. Once again, just months after landing on Mars, the “Perseverance” rover has answered a question that has been on researchers’ minds for a long time: Are the stones in the landing region sedimentary origin, so was flowing water involved in their formation, for example, or is their origin volcanic in nature and they were formed in lava flows? -Project Scientist Ken Farley of Caltech in Pasadena. “But then our PIXL instrument got a good look at the cut of a rock and it all became clear: the crystals inside are the irrefutable proof.”
NASA rover on Mars: “Perseverance” clarifies the question that drove researchers to despair
The realization of the Nasa research team, which evaluates the data of the latest Nasa rover: The subsoil on which “Perseverance” has been standing and driving since its landing on Mars was very likely formed in red-hot magma. Analyzing a rock, the Perseverance rover’s PIXL instrument showed that the rock, nicknamed “Brac” by the researchers, is composed of an unusual abundance of large olivine crystals encapsulated in pyroxene crystals.
Future NASA mission to transport Mars rocks to Earth
“A good geology student would tell you that texture like this indicates rocks formed as crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling magma — for example, a thick lava flow, lava lake, or magma chamber,” Farley explains. The stone was then altered several times by water. “It thus became a treasure chest that will enable future researchers to date events in the Jezero crater,” says Farley. The researcher further suspects that this would help to better understand the time when water was not uncommon on the surface of the Jezero crater and reveal the early history of the planet Mars. It is still unclear whether the examined rock cooled down in a lava lake on the surface or in a subterranean chamber that later came to the surface through erosion. What is happening in the sky, in astronomy, space travel and space research? Sign up for the free HNA newsletter to stay up to date. The Mars rover Perseverance packed a piece of the rock in a container to be returned to Earth on a future mission. Then scientists on Earth can use equipment in their research that is too big to transport to Mars. The NASA rover is to fill a total of 43 small containers with soil samples from Mars, six of which have already been filled and sealed. It contains, among other things, Martian material for which the rover has drilled, but also a sample of the Martian atmosphere.
Nasa: Mars rover “Perseverance” has detected organic compounds
Another instrument of the Mars rover “Perseverance” has also provided research on Earth with fresh data: SHERLOC has detected organic compounds. This does not automatically mean that life once existed in Jezero Crater, NASA said in a statement. There are both biological and non-biological mechanisms by which organic compounds are formed and the NASA rover “Curiosity” has also discovered organic material at its landing site in Gale Crater*. The NASA rover “Perseverance” in the middle of the “South Séítah” in Jezero Crater on Mars. There the rover analyzed the rock, which showed the researchers on Earth how it was formed. The image was acquired by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.© NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona“What SHERLOC adds to the story is the ability to map the spatial distribution of organic material in rocks and match them with the minerals that were found there,” explains SHERLOC researcher Luther Beegle from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In this way, research can better understand the environment in which the organic compounds were formed. The fact that organic compounds were found in stones in the Jezero and Gale craters means that possible biosignatures – i.e. signs of previous or current life – have also been preserved. “It’s a question that probably won’t be resolved until the samples are brought to Earth, but the preservation of organic compounds is very exciting,” said Beegle. “If these Mars samples reach Earth, they will be a source for scientific research for many years to come.” (tab) *fr.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
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