or rover Perseverance, gives NASA, stay Mars planet 10 months ago and has already fueled some surprising revelations. The robot’s new discovery is that the planet’s rocky soil was once composed of volcanic lava flows. The announcement was made during the autumn meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, USA.
The scientists’ analysis showed that the olivine crystals are surrounded by pyroxene, both pointing to a volcanic origin. According to the American network CNN, for scholars, this is “completely unexpected” information. Prior to this, they believed that the rock layers were sedimentary material deposited by an ancient river.
Samples obtained by Perseverance show evidence of water and even organic molecules. These findings allow us to make an accurate timeline of what happened in Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake on the planet, and thus better understand the history of Mars.
A key tool in new evidence for Mars was the fact that the robot used a drill on the end of its arm to scrape rock surfaces. “The crystals inside the rock gave us the answer,” says Ken Farley, Persistence Project Scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in a statement.
Persistence possesses an array of sophisticated instruments to analyze the material obtained. One is the PIXL, or Planetary Instrument, for X-ray lithochemistry, which reveals mineral content.
Now the team wants to know whether the olivine rocks were formed from a lava lake that may have cooled or from underground lava from an ancient volcano that was exposed to erosion. “We expect the original crater floor to be much deeper than where we are now,” Farley says.
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