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NASA rover research on Mars answers pessimistic questions

NASA rover research on Mars answers pessimistic questions

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NASA rover “Perseverance” destroys a mystery that researchers have long worried about Mars. An invention “Curiosity” is reminiscent of the rover’s invention.

Frankfurt / Pasadena – Shortly after landing on Mars in February 2021, NASA’s rover sent data from “Perseverance” researchers to Earth, which clarified a larger Mars question: the Jessero crater where the rover was located once landed. A lake? Researchers answer: Yes. “This is a key observation that once confirmed the existence of a lake and river delta in the Jessero Abyss,” said scientist Nicholas Mancold in a NASA report. Now the US space agency has revealed the next surprise that the rover has discovered on Mars.

Again, a few months after landing on Mars, the rover “Perseverance” answered a question that has long puzzled researchers: Did the rocks in the landing area have a sedimentary appearance, for example, did flowing water play a role in their formation, or were they formed by volcanic eruptions?

“I’m starting to get frustrated, hoping we’ll never find the answer,” NASA quotes Ken Forley, a diligent project scientist from Caltech in Pasadena. “But our PIXL tool looks good at the abrasive part of a rock and everything is clear: the crystals inside are undeniable evidence.”

NASA: Mars rover “diligence” clarifies a question that frustrated researchers

Discovery by NASA team evaluating data from the latest NASA rover: The “diligent” standing ride surface from landing on Mars was created by burning hot magma. Mars Rover’s PIXL instrument showed during analysis of a stone that the stone, nicknamed “Brock”, was made of large olive crystals encased in pyrox crystals.

“For a good geography student, such a structure would mean the formation of rocks, which would grow into crystals and slowly settle into magma – a formidable lava flow, a volcanic lake or a magma chamber,” Forley explains. The stone was then replaced several times with water.

“It turned out to be a treasure trove that will enable future researchers to date events in the Jessero abyss,” says Forley. The researcher hopes that this will help to better understand the time when water was not abnormal on the surface of the Jessero Gorge and to reveal the early history of Mars. It is not yet clear whether the rock examined was cooled on the surface of the lava lake or came to the surface by later erosion in the underground chamber.

The future mission is to carry the rocks of Mars to Earth

The Mars rover “Perseverance” has packed part of a rock into a container that will return to Earth for future mission. Then scientists on Earth could use devices large enough for their research that could not be carried to Mars. The NASA rover is expected 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, the rover’s perforated Martian object, but also a model of the Martian atmosphere.

NASA’s Mars rover “Personality” has sent a selfie to Earth.

© NASA / JBL-Caltech / MSSS

NASA: Mars rover “Perseverance” detects organic compounds

Another instrument of the Mars rover “Perseverance” has provided research on Earth with new data: Sherlock has detected organic compounds. This does not automatically mean that there were lives in the Jessero abyss, NASA insists in a press release. There are biological and non-biological mechanisms by which organic compounds are formed and the NASA rover “Curiosity” also discovered organic matter at its landing site in the Gale crater.

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“Adding to the Sherlock story is the ability to map the spatial distribution of organic matter in rocks and interact with the minerals found there,” explains Luther Beagle, a Sherlock researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In this way, research can better understand the environment in which organic compounds are formed.

The presence of organic compounds in the rocks in the Jessero and Gale valleys means that possible life signatures – i.e. signs of past or present life – have been preserved. “This is a question that will not be resolved until the samples are brought to Earth, but the acquisition of organic compounds is very exciting,” says Beagle. “When these Martian models come to Earth, they will be the source of years of scientific research.” (Tab)