Perseverance: the latest discoveries in Martian craters


Three articles have been published in Science and Science Advances reporting the new discoveries of NASA’s Perseverance rover conducted in the Jezero crater on Mars , which landed there in February 2021.


The first study, conducted by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, looks at the implications for organic geochemistry in the aqueous weathering processes in the crater. Using Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) Raman spectroscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy were performed on three rocks, identifying evidence for two distinct ancient aquatic environments at different times.

Thus, carbonate formations were found in an igneous rock rich in olivine and the presence of a mixture of sulphates-perchlorates formed by successive modifications of the rocks. Within these, signs of fluorescence consistent with aromatic organic compounds were found.

The second group from Arizona State University focused on geological, multispectral and meteorological imaging using Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z instrument, which provided high-resolution multispectral images that revealed rocks consistent with a volcanic and/or volcaniclastic and/or impact origin and limited aqueous alteration.


The third group, led by Texas A&M University , inferred via X-ray fluorescence , X-ray diffraction ,  and multispectral imaging the weathering history of rocks of the Sèitah Formation. Mineral identities and crystal sizes are critical for interpreting structural relationships in rocks and testing geological hypotheses.


The analyzes provided information on the presence or absence of coherent crystalline domains in various minerals. Additionally, X-ray and multispectral imaging performed on the rocks of the Sèitah Formation on the floor of Jezero crater show that they were embodied as coarsely crystalline igneous phases. The results support the hypothesis that these rocks represent drifts of olivine altered by fluids far from chemical equilibrium at low water-to-rock ratios.

  • Perseverance’s latest discoveries in the craters of Mars (


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