New research will help to find out when there was water on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA Perseverance mission scientists have made a surprising discovery about the composition of the rock in Jezero Crater.

The new study will help them figure out when water existed on Mars and whether there was ever microbial life on the red planet.

An article published Aug. 25 in Science Advances states that Jezero Crater is mostly igneous rather than sedimentary rock.

The crater where Perseverance landed in 2021 contained water billions of years ago. For this reason, scientists predicted that the stony deposits in this area would be from sedimentary rock.

But to their surprise, they found that the Jezero deposits were formed from volcanic magma.

Igneous rocks are easier to date and could give researchers more accurate information about when Mars had water.

The rock analysis was done by SuperCam, an instrument developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

SuperCam uses a focused infrared laser beam to remove dust from rock surfaces and a spectrometer to analyze the chemical composition.

“Finding these volcanic rocks at the bottom of an ancient lake on Mars was a surprise. One would expect sediment in the lake, but this discovery shows that the history of Mars is more complex than expected,” said Roger Vince, SuperCam principal investigator.

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