NASA recently announced that the Mars rover Perseverance has acquired a sample that has implications for understanding the entire planet.
NASA has taken to its blog to announce that on November 12, the Perseverance rover that's stationed in the Jezero Crater took a sample from a South Seitah rock that showed evidence of "Brac", or as NASA explains, "an unusual abundance of large olivine crystals engulfed in pyroxene crystals."
After further inspection, the findings were presented at a news briefing at the American Geophysical Union in New Orleans, where researchers stated that the bedrock the rover has been driving on since landing in the Jezero Crater likely formed from red-hot magma that interacted with water at some stage in the cooling process. Additionally, it was announced that the water that interacted with the rocks contain organic molecules.
"I was beginning to despair we would never find the answer. But then our PIXL instrument got a good look at the abraded patch of a rock from the area nicknamed 'South Seitah,' and it all became clear: The crystals within the rock provided the smoking gun," said Perseverance Project Scientist Ken Farley of Caltech in Pasadena.
"A good geology student will tell you that such a texture indicates the rock formed when crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling magma - for example a thick lava flow, lava lake, or magma chamber. The rock was then altered by water several times, making it a treasure trove that will allow future scientists to date events in Jezero, better understand the period in which water was more common on its surface, and reveal the early history of the planet. Mars Sample Return is going to have great stuff to choose from!", added Farley.
For more information on this story, check out the NASA announcement here.