Nasa’s Perseverance rover has found grains of olivine on the Martian surface.
NASA’s Perseverance rover has been traversing and examining the Martian surface for quite some time now and a latest study based on the data it collected has left scientists astounded. The newest discovery reveals that the Red planet has some green in it too. Researchers from Purdue University have analysed data from the rover that found grains of olivine on the Martian surface. Olivine is a slightly less spectacular version of a commonly known gemstone peridot on earth. And hence, it resulted in some green areas on the Martian surface.
The olivine grains are so abundant in quantity on our earth that they comprise over half of the upper mantle. It is even responsible for making the beaches on Hawaii appear dark green, and it has the same effect on Mars. When Perseverance first arrived on Mars’ Jezero crater, researchers were hoping to find numerous minerals of red shade, but it has shared the most unexpected discovery that indicates that Mars had liquid water, air and even a magnetic field similar to that of Earth. While the crater was expected to possess sedimentary rocks, but instead, they actually found several volcanic rocks. Additionally, most of these rocks were made of large grains of olivine.
The rover is currently examining samples which are as old as 4 billion years, and in rather pristine condition.
Researchers are now studying the origin of these rocks to understand the early conditions of the planet Mars and if they have ever supported any life. The findings has been published in a spate of papers in Science and Science Advances.
Meanwhile, Nasa is planning to send two more helicopters to bring Mars rocks and dust back to Earth as part of its Mars Sample Return Program. NASA is conducting this Mars mission in collaboration with the European Space Agency. If the mission is completed successfully, Martian rocks will be the first scientific samples to have ever been brought back from another planet. “We have confidence that we can count on Perseverance to bring the samples back, and we’ve added the helicopters as a backup means,” stated Jeff Gramling, director of NASA’s Mars sample return program.