After many hypotheses and investigations, NASA has finally found an explanation for the discovery of tridymite on Mars, in the Gale crater, the place chosen for the landing of the Curiosity rover.
“It’s one of the most amazing observations Curiosity has made in 10 years of exploring Mars,” said Rice’s Kirsten Siebach, co-author of a study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
As the expert explained, tridymite is a mineral associated with “volcanic, explosive and quartz-forming systems on Earth”. However, she clarified that the tridymite was not found in an area of these characteristics, but “in an ancient lake on Mars”, a space in which the volcanoes “are very primitive”.
Mission on Mars
On November 26, 2011, the Curiosity rover was launched for its mission to Mars and Gale Crater was chosen as the place for it to land, since it is where evidence had been found that there was water on the planet a billion years ago. . There, the rover discovered tridymite, very rare on our planet.
Siebach, along with other researchers Valerie Payré and Michael Thorpe, Elizabeth Rampe of NASA, and Paula Antoshechkina of Caltech, reviewed all the data and evidence and came to a conclusion. According to their study, the Martian magma spent more time than expected below the volcano, so it cooled until the appearance of silicon. After an eruption, the volcano expelled ashes with this silicon in the form of tridymite, both in Gale Crater Lake and in neighboring areas.
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2033, a historic year
To all this is added that in the last hours it has been known that NASA will bring the first samples of Mars to Earth in the year 2033. It will be then when the Perseverance robot, on the planet since 2021, transports what was found to be evaluated . In addition, the European Space Agency (ESA) collaborates to send more devices that can be used as means of transport, such as two sample recovery helicopters.