They discover a mysterious white stone on Mars and its appearance puzzled scientists: “Geological gift”

They discover a mysterious white stone on Mars and its appearance puzzled scientists: “Geological gift”
They discover a mysterious white stone on Mars and its appearance puzzled scientists: “Geological gift”

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NASA’s Perseverance rover, which travels around Mars, photographed a white stone that baffled scientists, particularly because of the different and distant appearance from the rest of the land. The astronomers They nicknamed it Atoko Point and presented a disparate contrast with the environment.

This discovery occurred while the unmanned robot of the US space agency traveled, as part of an in-depth investigation, the Neretva Vallis river canalin Jezero Crater. In order to avoid large rocks that could damage its structure, the rover deviated and thanks to this, collided with this geological wonder of the red planet.

The white stone, different from the rest, stands out for its composition and tone(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

It appeared at the top of Mount Washburn hill – as reported by NASA in a recent article -, in a terrain of dunes and soil suitable for the circulation of this type of transport. As it passed, Perseverance encountered various stones, but this last one It turned out to be of interest and the most striking for researchers who observe the Martian surface daily.. Because? The answer lies in its texture and composition. pyroxene and feldspar.

Brad Garczynski of Western Washington University in Bellingham, the expert in charge of the expedition, said: “The diversity of textures and compositions at Mount Washburn was an exciting discovery for the team, as it These rocks represent a bag of geological gifts brought from the crater rim and potentially beyond.” Furthermore, he highlighted Atoko Point: “But among all these different rocks, there was one that really caught our attention.”

NASA’s Perseverance rover was traveling through the ancient channel of the Neretva Vallis River when it found the mysterious white stone(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The stone It is 45 centimeters wide by 35 centimeters high.. Its analysis was done by Perseverance’s SuperCam and Mastcam-Z, which helped researchers understand that it would be chemically a unique compound.

Garczynski also commented that the diversity of the rocks found in the soil of Mars can give a broader snapshot of the geological identity and the processes through which that terrain went through. Many of those involved in the expedition assured that the minerals that formed Atoko Point, They originated in an underground magma foundry exposed on the edge of the crater that has the Neretva Vallis river channel. Meanwhile, others claim that it was also able to reach that point thanks to Martian water currents.

In July 2020, the US space agency launched the Perseverance rover into space with the intention of tracking and collecting the greatest amount of data from the soil of Mars. This was designed to remain there for at least one Martian year, that is, 687 Earth days. But it goes much longer.

Terrain covered by the Perseverance rover(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

It is currently in the last stage of its fourth scientific campaign, in search of “evidence of carbonate deposits and olivine in the Margin Unit, an area along the interior of the rim of Jezero Crater.” To date, the unmanned robot has covered a space of 200 meters, from Bright Angel to Dunraven Pass.

The ultimate end is to discover the microbial traces of ancient life that they can elucidate what happened centuries ago on that celestial body. Thanks to the samples and the collection of information, the environment can be thoroughly studied in order to install the first human settlements in the future.

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