NASA’s Mars rover has been making headlines lately, but its most recent discovery may top them all. Exploring the red planet’s surface, the vehicle found a “treasure chest” and with it, solved a long-standing question.
Social Post shared a news release detailing the discovery with NASA’s “Perseverance” Mars rover this morning. Landing on the planet in February 2021, the organization sent it to answer whether or not its Jezero crater was once a lake. As it turns out, that was the case. As if that wasn’t enough, the stones in the rover’s landing zone had unknown origins. Researchers didn’t know if they were of sedimentary origin from water or of volcanic origin. Thanks to NASA’s PIXL Instrument, we now know it is volcanic.
Ken Farley from the California Institute of Technology of Pasadena was beginning to lose hope they’d discover the rocks’ origins. “I started to despair and thought we would never find the answer. But then our PIXL instrument had a good view of the eroded part of the rock and everything became clear: the crystals inside are the ultimate proof.”
Fortunately, NASA found more than just the answer. According to Farley, the discovery is a glorified “treasure chest” of knowledge. “A good student of geology will tell you that such texture indicates that rocks formed, grew into crystals and settled in cold, cold magma—for example, a thick lava flow, a lava lake, or a magma chamber,” Farley explained. “It has become a treasure chest that will enable future researchers to date events in Jezero crater.”
The rover also managed to pack a piece of rock into a container to be brought back to Earth and used in a future mission.
Elon Musk Predicts SpaceX Will Have Humans on Mars Within the Next Decade
NASA’s Mars rover doing what it has so far is already an outstanding achievement, but Elon Musk has his sights set on something even more monumental, and sooner than you might think. In fact, Musk states SpaceX will send humans to Mars within the next decade.
Elon Musk himself reports humanity’s trip to Mars may even come sooner, the New York Post discussed. Saying we should be a “multi-planet species,” he thinks the trip could come within five years. “Best case is about five years. Worst case, ten years,” he told the outlet.
Musk’s words are bold, to say the least, and it seems much of his confidence stems from “Starship,” the vehicle that would make this dream possible. “Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket that’s ever been made by, I don’t know, an order of magnitude or something like that,” Musk added. “It’s a lot. It’s really next level.”
However, finishing Starship and cutting trip costs are Musk’s primary concerns now and the journey hinges heavily on those two factors.