Perseverance rover finds green sand on Mars

During the NASA mission to the Red Planet, the Perseverance rover discovered unusual layers of soil in the Lake crater, which differ from the rest of the surface of Mars.

Analysis of the rocks showed that the rover found stones of volcanic origin. Some of them are interspersed with small crystals of olivine, one of the most common minerals on Earth, which is abundant in the upper mantle, and its small light green crystals are often found on Hawaiian beaches. The age of the Martian finds is about 3.7 billion years.

Olivine inclusions in a piece of terrestrial volcanic rock. Photo: Hannes Grobe / AWI / Creative Commons

One of the main differences between Martian olivine and terrestrial volcanic rocks is that the alien mineral was not subjected to such aggressive external influences as tectonic movements and weathering. The researchers did not at all expect that the rover would find such material – before that, they assumed that only sedimentary rocks could be found at the bottom of the crater.

This discovery will allow scientists to learn more about the climatic history of Mars. Also, the NASA mission will help answer questions about the origin of life both on the Red Planet and on Earth. The study of terrestrial evolution is complicated by the fact that over the long years of transformation, our planet has changed a lot, and it is already difficult to imagine what it was like billions of years ago. On Mars, rocks lie quietly on the surface for billions of years, waiting to be studied.

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