Scientists have revealed that the Jessero crater on Mars was formed from volcanic magma, which found organic particles in rocks and dust on the surface of the crater.
This is among the many results announced this week at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. This is by no means evidence of life on Mars, as organic compounds have carbon-hydrogen bonds and can be formed by any number of non-biological processes.
In fact, both organic compounds Curiosity and Mars Express have previously been discovered on Mars.
But the results show that Martian rocks can protect these compounds well, suggesting that they can also preserve biological organic matter.
Luther Beagle, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said: “Curiosity has also found organic matter at the Gale Crater landing site.
Beagle explains: “Adding to the Sherlock story is the ability to map the spatial distribution of organic matter within rocks and to relate that organic matter to the ores present there.
Perseverance landed on the Red Planet in the area of the Jesero crater in February. The site is believed to have been once flooded and rich in clay minerals – properties that are vital to the work of diligence.
For example, the Sherlock instrument was able to detect a group of organic minerals in Xerox. These were not only on the rocks for the purpose of studying the rover’s internal contents, but also on the dust that covered the floor of the abyss.
Among other diligent tools was the Planetary X-ray Lithology Instrument (PIXL), which allowed scientists to determine the origin of the underlying rocks in Jessero. After taking a key sample in an area called the “Brock”, the PIXL data clearly showed the presence of crystals embedded in the pyroxene crystals.
Here on Earth, this mineral formation is of volcanic origin, indicating that the base of the Jessero gorge formed from hot magma.
“A good geography student, when the crystals slowly grow and settle on cold magma, such a structure indicates rock formation – for example a dense volcanic stream, a volcanic lake or magma chamber,” says Caltech geologist Ken Farley. Changed several times by water, it is a treasure trove that will allow future scientists to date events in Jessero, with a better understanding of the most common period of water on its surface and revealing the early history of the planet.
Source: Scientific warning
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