Perseverance rover is approaching its one year anniversary since landing on February 18, 2021. That is, his year on Mars.
NASA’s newest rover roams miles around Mars’ Jezero Crater, looking for signs and hints of ancient life. Mars‘Past. Part of NASA’s ambitious Mars 2020 mission, the rover has collected an enormous amount of information about the surface of Mars and its rocks. patience rover We have published three new research papers detailing our findings to date.
The data reveal a “fire and water story” in Martian history. bryony hogana planetary scientist at Purdue University in Indiana and co-author of one of the new studies.
Perseverance is NASA’s most advanced rover to date, capable of studying Martian rocks in greater detail than any rover to date. Its suite of instruments includes Mastcam-Z, a rover ‘eye’ that can study rocks at great distances, and SHERLOC and PIXL, two techniques that perform detailed X-ray and UV spectroscopy. increase. Composition of rocks and minerals.
“These papers demonstrate the power of the Mars 2020 payload,” Hogan told Space.com. “By studying the geology of Jezero Crater from an outcrop, [large] Using Mastcam-Z to scale down to individual particles using PIXL and SHERLOC, we were able to piece together the complex history of the crater floor. ”
for decades, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter We have been scouting the surface of Mars to explore interesting places. The area around Perseverance’s landing site at Jezero Crater is of particular interest to astronomers. Astronomers suspect that it was once a delta of rivers that feed into the lake contained within the crater itself.
Water has been a long-standing concern on Mars. Mariner 9The first images of the water-sculpted canyons of Valles Marineris in the 1970s Direct Evidence for Water Ice dug up by landers like phoenix 2008 onwards. Humans are naturally obsessed with water because water is a very important element for life. Whether it’s finding alien life or supporting our own during human space travel. People are still trying to figure out the details of the timeline and how much water was flowing.
“By landing on Jezero, we are studying rocks that are much older than any other previous landing site. “It helps us understand,” Hogan said. “Our data confirms that water is everywhere!”
Rover found a combination of iron-rich minerals, such as olivine and pyroxene, commonly found in volcanic rocks, and minerals, such as hematite, altered by water and salt water. The chemistry of these minerals speaks to lava flows that have encountered water many times. When the water first flowed, it was warm, then the water became salty.
“The results of these studies are unique to the Persevierance rover,” said Schuyler Borges, a planetary scientist at Northern Arizona University who studies Mars analogues on Earth and is not involved with the Persevierance team. I agree. They are particularly excited about the fact that water has appeared multiple times in Mars’ past. This is because a lot of water means that ‘where life exists, there are more opportunities for life to be involved’.
Perseverance also ran two “bonus missions” to demonstrate new technology. The MOXIE experiment to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, ingenuity helicopterOriginally intended only to prove that human technology could fly on another planet, Ingenuity “evolved from” However Corrine Rojas, Operations Engineer for the Mastcam-Z camera at Arizona State University, said:
Data from the rover’s Ingenuity Flight observations have provided the team with more information about how dust from the surface of Mars moves. It’s exciting “bonus science,” as Rojas called it, as referred to in these new studies.
This is just the beginning of Perseverance, which is preparing for a more distant future by preserving rock samples that traverse the surface of Mars. One day, NASA and its European counterparts plan to retrieve these samples and bring them back to Earth for further study.
“We’ve learned a lot,” Hogan said of the mission so far. “But of course, when you take these samples home, you’re making great strides!”