Newly discovered Martian rock provides clues to the planet’s past

(NewsNation) – NASA’s Perseverance rover has discovered new, popcorn-like rocks and a rock unlike any seen on Mars before.

The rover was investigating the “Bright Angel” area inside the Jezero crater rim. As it reached a point known as Mount Washburn, the scientists noticed a standout, a light-colored rock among a sea of ​​darker objects.

The rock, christened “Atoko Point” by scientists, appears to have a composition unlike any that has been encountered on the red planet before. Initial analysis suggests it is an anorthosite rock, a type of rock made primarily of feldspar and associated with lava flows.

The discovery of an anorthotic rock suggests that the early crust of Mars may have been more complex and similar to Earth’s crust than it is now.

The persistence also revealed some rocks with small densely packed spheres that have been described as popcorn. This has led scientists to believe that groundwater once flowed through the rocks.

  • The reddish surface of Mars scattered with rocks.
  • An image of a rock field on Mars with a white rock in the middle.
  • A map of the Martian surface near the Jezero crater.

The rover has sent images and data of the objects back to NASA, but has not taken physical samples, in part because scientists expect to discover other similar rocks.

There is also the question of whether the samples taken by Perseverance will be returned to Earth at all. The rover is designed to collect them, but the Mars Sample Return mission has faced rising costs, prompting Congress to threaten cancellation.

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