NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars on Feb. 18th, 2021. In Mars Exploration Program (MEP) due to its latest robotic mission, Perseverance will follow within the footsteps of its sister mission, Curiosity. Research was conducted few moments before its arrival by the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has shown that surface of the Mars was shaped by flowing water several million years before previously thought.
The general scientific objectives of the Perseverance rover is the mystery of how Mars went from being a hotter, watery planet billions of years ago to the extremely cold. The rover will study and take samples from the sedimentary deposits when it gets landed on jezero Crater that are the remains of the traditional river delta.
Simone Marchi a Principal Scientist at the SwRI conducted a research which determines that these formations were formed eons before previously thought. For the sake of his study, which recently appeared within the Astronomical Journal, Dr. Marchi used the dynamical models for the formation and evolution of the system to determine a replacement chronology for Mars.
“The plan behind the crater is simple as the surface started getting older more craters will have started forming and the problem is in the details. When asteroids and comets strike on the surface craters will form. The speed of those cosmic crashes over the eons is uncertain, hampering our ability to convert crater numbers to terrain ages. I took a fresh check out this and built on recent developments within the way we understand the earliest evolution of the system.”
Put simply, scientists have typically relied on measurements of the natural radioactivity of rocks so as to determine the age of various terrains on Earth. On Mars, however, scientists have largely stuck to counting impact craters to determine the chronology of the landscape. the rationale for this has got to do with the samples of lunar rock that were brought back by the Apollo astronauts.
For decades, scientists have used the radiometric ages of those rocks to determine and calibrate a chronology for lunar craters, which was then wont to extrapolate the ages of craters on Mars. However, this method has run into problems when it involves the earliest evolutionary periods of the system. Timing understanding of lunar and Martian impact rates has improved significantly in the recent years.
In anticipation of Perseverance ‘s arrival, Dr. Marchi focused his analysis on the Jezero crater. Measuring roughly 48 km (30 mi) in diameter, this impact crater is found within the Isidis Basin, which measures 1200 km (750 mi) in diameter and was created by an earlier and more-massive impact. Isidis might be the most important and oldest basin on Mars and cut a good portion between the Borealis Basin and also the Syrtis Major Planum.
The existence of smaller craters nestled within larger (older) ones is of particular interest to scientists, as samples obtained from these terrains could provide data on the timing of those consecutive impacts. This makes these findings all the more significant since one among the most science goals of Perseverance is to research potentially-habitable environments on Mars that would still hold signs of preserved life.
It is for this reason that the rover is tasked with obtaining samples from the clay-rich terrains and fluvial delta within the Jezero Crater, which are seen as evidence that the crater was once home to a lake. As Dr. Marchi said:
These surfaces could have formed over 3 billion years ago, the maximum amount as 500 million years older than previously thought. NASA plans to possess Perseverance gather and package surface samples which will be collected by a future mission for return to Earth for radiometric dating. that would provide vital ground-truth data to raised calibrate our chronology models.
Once the sames are cached, they’re going to be returned to Earth by a sample return mission provided by the European Space Agency (ESA). This mission will contain four elements: A Sample Return Lander (SRL) which will set down within the Jezero crater, a Sample Fetch Rover (SFR) which will retrieve them and convey them to the lander, a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) which will launch them to orbit, and a Sample Return Orbiter (SRO) which will rendezvous with the MAV and convey the samples home.
As such, having an accurate timeline for these surfaces (how and once they formed and evolved) is of particular importance to scientists. consistent with Dr. Marchi’s new model, the Isidis Basin is now estimated to be 4-4.2 billion years old, thus providing an upper limit for the formation of the Jezero Crater and therefore the existence of flowing water within the region.
Once the Perseverance rover lands and commences science operations, it’ll employ variety of advanced instruments to look at the Martian landscape. Additionally, to its sample-caching device, spectrometers, and drill, it’ll also deploy a little, autonomous rotorcraft (the Mars Helicopter), which is able to demonstrate aerial technologies and their effectiveness on Mars.
The mission to reconstruct Mars past and unlock its secrets continues, and is certain to urge plenty more exciting very soon!