The Perseverance rover has successfully collected the first samples of Martian soil that may contain traces of the Red Planet’s groundwater.
The Marisian rover Perseverance has successfully collected the first two rock samples on the Red Planet. Their initial analysis gave scientists new hope that life on Mars might once have existed.
The first sample was collected on September 6, 2021 and was named “Mondenier”. A second sample, “Montagnac”, was obtained from the same rock area on September 8th.
The composition of this rock indicates that there was volcanic activity on Mars many years ago, and the bodies of water have existed long enough for life to originate in them.
“It looks like our first [образцы] breeds indicate the presence of a potentially habitable stable environment. It was really important to know that the water has been there for a long time, ”said Ken Farley of California Institute of Technology, Perseverance Mission Specialist.
The rock from which the samples were taken for study is most likely of volcanic origin. This, as well as the presence of crystalline minerals in it, should help scientists determine the time of formation of this rock.
Also, researchers will have the opportunity to find out exactly when the Jezero crater was formed, as well as when the lake of the same name appeared and disappeared at its bottom.
We will remind, earlier we wrote that the theory of a “big lake” at the bottom of the crater may be wrong.
Even more researchers were inspired by the presence of salts in the rock samples. Salts could have formed in the rock when groundwater flowed through it. Even more likely, the salt may have remained after the water evaporated from the surface of the stone.
Salt crystals in rock samples may still contain bubbles of Martian water. If so, researchers will have the opportunity to learn about the ancient climate of the Red Planet and the possibility of life on it.
Groundwater could persist in the depths of the rock for a long time after the lake on the surface was dry. Whether it was tens of thousands or millions of years, scientists will be able to find out in the course of laboratory analysis of rock samples.
Both samples are now in sealed titanium containers inside the rover. Perseverance will leave them on the surface of Mars after a while so that a future mission can collect the containers and take them back to Earth.
Later, the rover will collect samples from an older rock located two hundred meters from the place where the first two samples were obtained.
The mission’s leadership believes that the more different “warehouses” the rover will make during the entire exploration of the Martian soil, the more likely it will be that future missions will have the opportunity to collect the samples.
We will remind, earlier we wrote about how Perseverance began to study the Martian soil. Prior to this, the rover had successfully obtained oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere.
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