After its third sampling on the Martian soil, NASA has published some photographs where the Perseverance robot collected olivine crystal from the surface of Mars, a semi-precious stone that It has also been news on our planet after being expelled a few weeks ago by the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma.
The finding was published in the official Rover account Perseverance, where it has been announced that the robot has collected a rock sample that contained this olivine, an olive-green mineral (from which it gets its name), which due to its resistance to high temperatures is usually used in jewelry (called peridot in gem quality) but also has industrial applications in metallurgy processes.
Olivine is not common on the surface of our planet, it can be found to a greater extent in the upper mantle of the Earth (it crystallizes at approximately 70 kilometers deep); However, various pieces of this stone have been scattered on the island of La Palma as a result of the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which still has the community on alert.
This third sampling of the Martian soil is intended to obtain more geological information about the red planet. Although NASA has not provided more details about the find, it is known that Perseverance is analyzing the cráter Lake, where millions ago the planet housed a lake of water. The first harvest of the robot resulted in a rock that it was decided to call Rochette; However, this sample collected in September was too pulverized to be studied, it was in the second sampling attempt that it was possible to collect a significant sample that will be returned to Earth in the future. The main objective of the mission is to be able to find fossils that show clues about the existence of biological life in the past.
Olivine could be an option to mitigate climate change
An investigation by geologist Matthijs A. Smit and Professor Klaus Mezger could indicate that this mineral was an important component for the oxygenation process and life on Earth, since the chemical reactions of this mineral blocked oxygen in contact with water, It was not until this was disappearing that the accumulation of oxygen saturated the water, crossing into the atmosphere.
“After that change, the Earth became much more habitable and suitable for the evolution of complex life, but that needed some activation mechanism, and that is what we may have found,” Smit explained in a research statement.
In addition to this, olivine could be a viable option in the future because through ‘improved weathering’, a process where finely ground rocks are spread on the surface and the sea, a ‘carbon sequestration’ could be generated, which it is a long-term process for the absorption of carbon dioxide present on Earth. This removal of carbon dioxide through chemical reactions of olivine is an option that is being studied since it is a mineral that could be accessed and reacts easily with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.