NASA investigated a rock on Mars

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NASA has taken a closer look at a strange rock on Mars known as “Bunsen Peak”, named after the peak in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
When the Perseverance rover first photographed the rock, it immediately drew the attention of NASA scientists.
Advertisement “This rock was intriguing because it stands tall among the surrounding terrain and has some interesting surface texture on its left face,” NASA explained in a statement, shortly after its discovery.
“Another feature of the rock that stood out in the image was the near vertical face directly in front of the rover.
A vertical face piques the interest of the science team for a couple of reasons: first, a vertical face of a rock could give a cross-sectional view of any chemical or physical layering that might be occurring in the rock.
Second, a vertical face is usually less dust-covered, which is good news for our scientific instruments!”
The rock can even tell us about Mars climate conditions that were present when it was formed.”
Though further analysis needs to be done, the team believes the rock could be part of an ancient lake.

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“Bunsen Peak,” so named because it resembles a peak in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, is an unusual rock on Mars that NASA has examined in greater detail.

NASA scientists were alerted to the rock as soon as the Perseverance rover took its first pictures of it.

Shortly after it was discovered, NASA released a statement describing the rock as “intriguing because it stands tall among the surrounding terrain and has some interesting surface texture on its left face.”.

“The nearly vertical face of the rock directly in front of the rover was another aspect of the object that caught attention in the photo. The science team is interested in a vertical face of a rock for two reasons: first, it may provide a cross-sectional view of any potential chemical or physical layering in the rock. Additionally, a vertical face typically has less dust accumulation, which is advantageous for our scientific equipment.”.

Using spectrometers, Perseverance discovered that the rock is composed of 75% carbonate grains held together by “almost pure” silica. On March 11, the company used its drilling tool to obtain a sample of the 1 point 7 meters by 1 meter (5 point 6 feet wide and 3 point 3 feet high) rock for analysis.

Why then is NASA so interested in this particular rock? Perseverance is primarily concerned with gathering samples of rocks and soil that may hold the key to uncovering evidence of prehistoric microbial life, and this particular rock may hold the answer.

Ken Farley, project scientist for Perseverance at Caltech in Pasadena, California, said in a statement, “To put it simply, this is the kind of rock we had hoped to find when we decided to investigate Jezero Crater.”. “Almost all of the minerals in the rock we just sampled were formed in water; on Earth, minerals that were deposited by water are frequently effective at ensnaring and preserving organic matter that is very old as well as biosignatures. The rock can even provide information about the climate conditions that existed on Mars during its formation. “.

The team thinks the rock might be a piece of an old lake, but more research is necessary.

“Although we’re still investigating the edge and collecting information, the findings thus far seem to corroborate our theory that the rocks in this area originated from the edges of a prehistoric lake,” continued Briony Horgan, a Perseverance scientist at Purdue University. Since carbonate and silica can be formed in different ways, the scientific team is also exploring alternative theories for the Margin Unit’s origin. However, it is very exciting to obtain a sample, regardless of how this rock formed. ****.

Perseverance is going to “Bright Angel,” an area believed to contain much older rocks, and will keep gathering samples along the Jezero Crater. If everything goes according to plan, a sample collection mission that is scheduled to depart from Earth in 2028 will eventually bring the samples back to our planet.

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