The persistent rover found a volcanic rock in what used to be a lake

According to a comprehensive review of the findings of the first year of activity of the Perseverance rover, unexpected volcanic rocks have been discovered in the tidal crater of Mars, which can be the key to understanding the extreme climate changes of this planet and determining the time to be precise about its habitability.

BingMag.com The persistent rover found a volcanic rock in what used to be a lake

According to a comprehensive review of the findings of the first year of activity of the Perseverance rover, unexpected volcanic rocks have been discovered in the tidal crater of Mars, which can be the key to understanding the extreme climate changes of this planet and determining the time to be precise about its habitability.

The discovery of the volcanic rocks of Mars in the first year of NASA's "Perseverance" rover was unexpected for scientists. They expected the probe to have landed on sedimentary rocks left over from the mud of an ancient lake 3.7 billion years ago.

Ken Farley, professor of geochemistry at the California Institute of Technology and "Most of us expected to study the rocks deposited in the lake, and it took us a long time to come to terms with the fact that the crater floor is igneous," the Pashtkar mission said.

Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021 (1 March 2019) to study the 45-kilometer-long Jezro crater, which was home to a river and lake system in the past. Astrobiologists hope that such an environment had conditions for life billions of years ago.

Now four new articles published on Thursday, August 25 (3 September) in the journals "Science" and "Science Advances". , they comprehensively explain the findings of a year of hard work.

According to these investigations, the composition of some of the rocks found is similar to the subsurface rocks of the deep earth where iron oxide interacts with water, molecular hydrogen (potential source of energy for microbial life) and produces hydrocarbons such as methane, which can act as building blocks for some of life's more complex compounds. It does not exist in this area or near it.

In the first year of his mission, Pashtkar discovered two igneous rock formations, called "Stah" and a separate part on it called "Maze". Maz) has studied These names mean "among the sands" and "Mars" respectively in the Navajo language.

The Cita region of Mars has large amounts of olivine, a common volcanic mineral of magnesium silicate. - It is made of iron. It is also said that the maze was formed from the lava that flowed over the Sita region.

In another paper led by "Svein-Erik Hamran" (Svein-Erik Hamran), professor of remote sensing at the University of Oslo, Norway, the results The investigation of the penetration radar on the surface of Mars shows that the entire "Geological Unit" (Geological Unit) including Sita and Maze has extended to the subsurface, slightly elevated and angled. A rock pile about one kilometer long that is tilted about 10 degrees.

This finding is unexpected because strong tectonic forces are needed to lift geological units, but Mars does not have plate tectonics and There is no definite evidence that it had such pages in the past. Therefore, according to Farley, "it is safe to say that the rocks, after being deposited, were tilted by a phenomenon that is not yet known." It was covered by mud, which eventually formed a deep layer of sedimentary rock. But as the Martian climate changed and the lake dried up, the sediments were exposed again. "Since then, these surface features have been mostly eroded by wind," Farley noted. Sand can change a landscape well in three and a half billion years."

BingMag.com The persistent rover found a volcanic rock in what used to be a lake

Ancient river delta at the mouth of Jezoro
Credit: ESA/DLR/FU-Berlin

After the samples arrive on Earth in the next decade and the igneous rocks in Ground-based laboratories allow scientists to determine the age and history of tidal craters better than ever before. In the current method, the history of the surface is determined by counting craters, and the more craters there are, the older the surface is.

With these samples, it is also possible to know how long Mars has been wet, or at least the tidal crater. The area investigated in the first scientific campaign has a different amount of clay, and such a surface usually appears when the rock is exposed to water for a long time. Therefore, we can say that either the water in the tidal mouth existed for a long time but at a shallow depth, or the lake, at least on geological scales, did not exist for a long time.

But the underground water may have remained longer and have left their mark on the samples collected by persistence. The rover has already detected salts such as perchlorate in the cracks between the rocks, which may have formed from interactions with groundwater or even melting ice, and are therefore much younger than the lake itself.

Now that The Sita and Maze formations have been fully described, and the effort has moved on to the main target, the Tidal Crater River Delta. Farley In this regard, he said: "After exploring igneous rocks, Perseverance began a record-breaking 5-kilometer journey to reach the clay-rich delta and demonstrate its advanced self-driving navigation capabilities."

This particular probe has been exploring this delta for the past few months and now it is clearly located on the sedimentary rocks deposited in the lake and is still studying. Perseverance rover
Credit: NASA/JPLCaltech

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