Saturday, December 3

NASA rover finds rocks that may hold secrets from Mars’s ancient past

Mars is full of countless secrets waiting to be discovered. This latest rock found by the Perseverance rover could be one of them.

NASA’s Perseverance rover encounters countless Martian rocks during its travels, and the robot has just found a new one that could contain fascinating details about Mars’ rich history. Among all the planets in the Solar System, Mars has become the focal point of countless scientists and astronomers. Whether it’s the planet’s proximity to Earth or the belief that it was once the home of life; it is a destination that humans are constantly trying to learn more about.

Much of this work has fallen on the shoulders of advanced robotics. NASA sent numerous robots to Mars over the years, from rovers, orbiters, probes, etc. One of the most notable is perseverance. Since landing on Mars in February 2021, Perseverance has greatly assisted NASA with its continued exploration of Mars. Perseverance has explored new areas of the planet, taken thousands of stunning photos, and collected rock samples that will eventually be returned to Earth. It is far from the only robot to uncover mysteries on the Red Planet, but it is certainly one of the most talked about.

November 4 the shared Perseverance Twitter account two photographs of a particularly striking rock formation. The first photo shows the rock from a distance. It has very different layers, sand around it and smaller rocks on top. The second photo shows that layered rock in much greater detail, highlighting the fine texture in its layers and how they are all clearly different from each other. It’s certainly a beautiful lineup, but being photogenic isn’t all that rock has going for it.

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Why NASA is interested in this Martian rock

Accompanying these images, the Perseverancia Twitter account tweeted, «Layered rocks like this often form in water and can hold clues to what their surroundings used to be like. ‘ The Tweet also says that Perseverance is pulling out his abrasive tool to dig into the rock and look into it. If the rock turns out to be a good candidate, Perseverance will collect a sample from the interior, seal it in a special tube, and prepare it to be sent back to Earth so that scientists can study it more closely.

This is ultimately the main purpose of perseverance. As fun as it is to look at all the new images the rover is capturing, it was sent to Mars to do just this: collect rock samples that contain key details about the environment of Mars and possible signs of ancient life. Humans have yet to find evidence that life ever existed on the planet, but if it did, Perseverance is the rover that NASA believes will uncover those secrets.

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