Diligence makes ‘unexpected’ volcanic discovery on Mars
(CNN) – At one point, a volcano erupted at the site of an ancient lake on Mars. The diligent rover landed on the planet 10 months ago, but it has already caused surprise Discovery.
According to mission scientists, the rover’s latest discovery suggests that the crater was formed by a lava flow, the foundation on which it has flown since landing, which is “completely unexpected”. They previously thought that the layered rocks where the photos of diligence were taken were sediment.
The diligence of the rocks is exemplary so far Revealed Was in contact with water several times, some of which contained organic molecules.
These findings could help scientists create an accurate chronology of events that took place in the Jessero abyss, the site of the ancient lake, and have far-reaching implications for understanding Mars.
The discovery was announced Wednesday during a fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans.
For years, scientists have questioned whether the rock in this abyss is sedimentary rock, formed by layers of material deposited by an ancient river, or igneous rock formed when the lava cools.
In a statement, Ken Forley, a diligent project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, said, “I’m starting to get frustrated that we can never find the answer.
Everything changed when diligence began to clear the rock surfaces using an exercise in the tip of his robot hand.
“The crystals inside the rock provided solid evidence,” Forley said.
Diligence involves a set of sophisticated tools to visualize and analyze these scraped rocks, revealing their composition and mineral content. One such tool is the planetary instrument for PIXL or X-ray lithochemistry.
In November, Perceivance reads a rock using his tools, called “Brock” by the group. Analysis revealed large olive crystals surrounded by pyroxene crystals, which indicated that the rock came from volcanic eruptions.
“A good geography student suggests that such a system is formed when crystals grow and settle on slowly cooling magma, for example a thick lava flow, a volcanic lake or a magma chamber,” Barley said.
The rock has since been replaced several times by water, a treasure trove that allows future scientists to date events in Jessero, with a better understanding of the most common period of water on its surface and revealing the early history of the planet. Mars Sample Return There are some great options to choose from.
The team now wants to know if the rocks containing olivine were formed by a cold volcanic lake or if they appeared in an underground volcanic chamber and then erupted due to erosion.
“It’s completely unexpected, and we’re working to understand what that means,” Farley said.
“But I guess this is probably not the site of the original abyss. Due to the diameter of this abyss, we expect the site of the original abyss to be significantly deeper than where we are now.”
The lava may have flowed into the abyss, but the base of the original abyss is beneath the rock on which they now run, he said.
Samples diligence gets on Mars
So far, Diligence has collected four rock samples and plans to collect up to 37 more. These models will return to Earth in future travels, which will allow them to be explored in more detail and in a variety of ways. Models of the Jessero crater and its river delta could reveal whether there was life on Mars.
Upon returning to Earth, volcanic rocks can be dated with great accuracy, so these latest models will enable the team to establish the most accurate dates for features and events on Mars.
These rocks interact with water over time to form new minerals. The minerals in the samples could reveal what the climate and environment were like, and even the composition of the water on the red planet billions of years ago.
Kelsey Moore, a geologist at the California Institute of Technology and a fellow research fellow in planetary science, said: “It tells us if the water that existed there in the past was habitable.
Rover detected organic molecules in rock using its Sherlock instrument or by scanning living environments for organic and chemical substances by Raman and luminosity.
The presence of organic molecules does not have to be equal to the symptoms of past life or life signatures. Organisms can be biologically or non-biologically created, a physical process that does not involve organisms.
The Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, also discovered organic compounds at its landing site in Gale Crater. Now diligence has also found them, “said Luther Beagle, Sherlock’s chief researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Although more research is needed to determine how these organic molecules were formed, their existence gives hope to the scientific community. This is because if there were life on Mars, it means that signs of past or present life could also be preserved there.
“When these models return to Earth, they will be the source of scientific research and discovery for many years,” Beagle said.
And diligence also uses its in-site penetrative radar, the first to be tested on Mars. The radar imager, or RMFAX, used to examine the surface of Mars, was used to “look deep into the ground and determine the structure of the rock beneath our wheels,” said Brioni Horgan, an associate professor of planetary science at the University of Purdue and a mission scientist.
The test was used when the rover was going through a ridge. Radar data revealed several downward sloping rock formations, continuing from the ridge line just below the surface. Tools like RIMFAX will help scientists to understand the history of Mars and create its best geographical map.
Exploring an ancient river
Perseverance had a banner year in 2021 and will become even more enigmatic next year: the Old River Delta.
Barley said the fan-shaped system has confused scientists for years and the rover will reach the delta in six to eight months.
The rocks in the delta are sedimentary, trapping and preserving the precious sediments of the river that once flowed into the trough lake. Samples may reveal whether organic molecules or even microfossils associated with life symptoms can be hidden within delta debris.