NASA’s Perseverance Rover, which landed on Mars 10 months ago, made an amazing discovery of the bedrock it has driven over since it landed. Originally thought of as sediment, the latest findings from the rover state that the bedrock was formed by volcanic lava flows. The mission’s scientists described the find as “completely unexpected”. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), this finding made it possible to accurately date critical events in the history of Mars. The rocks in the Jerezo crater that the rover has sampled so far appear to have interacted with water several times and contain organic molecules. JPL released a video a day ago that was captured from the rover of the Jerezo crater.
The study was published at the American Geophysical Union’s science meeting in New Orleans that fall. Ken Farley, the researcher on the Perseverance Project at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, said the crystals in the rock provided the smoking weapon, according to a CNN report. Perseverance’s robotic arm bored its robotic arm through the surface of the rock to better understand its composition. A similar sample taken on November 23 showed that the rock formed as crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling magma. “A good geology student will tell you that such a texture indicates the rock that was formed as crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling magma – such as a thick lava flow, lava lake, or magma chamber,” Farley said. He added that he feared they would never know the answer to what the rocks are made of until the finds.
The Jerezo crater has now been identified as an ancient lake bed that has dried up on the Red Planet due to climate change.
The Perseverance Rover, as part of the Mars 2020 mission, was launched on July 30, 2020 and landed on February 18, 2021 on the Jerezo crater, Mars. It has since explored a four-square-kilometer spot on the crater floor and currently carries over three dozen titanium tubes to collect samples.