Understanding the Chemistry of the Rocks at Jezero Crater, Mars, Through the Combined Use of Supercam Spectroscopic and Optical Techniques.

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Conference Proceeding

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Earth and Space Science Open Archive


The SuperCam instrument onboard Perseverance rover has remote imaging (RMI), VISIR, LIBS, Raman and Time-Resolved Luminescence (TRL) capabilities. RMI images of the rocks at the Octavia Butler landing site have revealed important granular texture diversities. VISIR raster point observations have revealed important differences in the 2.10-2.50 µm infrared range (metal-hydroxides); many include water features at 1.40±0.04 and 1.92±0.02 µm [1]. LIBS observations on the same points analyzed by VISIR revealed important differences in the concentrations of major elements, suggesting mineral grain sizes larger than the laser beam (300-500 µm). LIBS and VISIR show coherent results in some rock surfaces that are consistent with an oxy-hydroxide (e.g., ferrihydrite) [1]. LIBS elemental compositions are consistent with pyroxenes, feldspars, and more often feldspar-like glass, often enriched in silica. Olivine compositions [1, 2] have been observed so far in LIBS data (up to Sol 140) exclusively in rounded regolith pebbles. They have not yet been observed in the rocks themselves, which are MgO-poor compared to regolith and are consistent with FeO bearing pyroxenes (e.g., hedenbergite, ferrosilite). A 3x3 LIBS and VISIR raster (9x9 mm) acquired on a low-standing rock on sol 90 exemplifies these finding. A dark L-shaped filled void sampled by points 1 and 2 with possible ferrihydrite (H seen in LIBS and VISIR spectra). Point 5 contains abundant silica and alkali elements but is Al-depleted relative to feldspars, consistent with dacitic glass composition. Point 7 has TiO2 content consistent with ilmenite. Comparisons to (igneous) Martian meteorites are potentially useful, e.g. [3], to explain the presence of several minerals, although most Martian meteorites are olivine-rich, e.g., more mafic than the rocks at the landing site. In summary, the bedrock at Octavia Butler landing site can be interpreted as showing evidence for relatively coarse-grained weathered pyroxenes, iron and titanium oxides and feldspars, while the local soil contains pebbles from a different source (richer in MgO) incorporating olivine grains.


Geology | Other Chemistry

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