Mars is believed to be 4.6 billion years old, and fortunately, in the form of the olivine-rich igneous rocks, Perseverance has spotted the location of the age-old lava samples required to study the planet’s ancient environment. Previously, some studies concerning Martian meteorites also hinted at the presence of olivine on the red planet.
However, the mineral was considered only limited to regions like Ganges Chasma and Nili Fossae. Until now, researchers were never sure about the presence of olivine in the Jezero crater. “Before the landing of Perseverance, the origin and lithology of Jezero crater’s floor were strongly debated, whether igneous (lava flows or pyroclastic) or sedimentary,” wrote the authors in their study.
There is a great possibility that by studying the data from the rover and possibly one day examining the rocks here on Earth, scientists could finally reveal if life ever existed on the red planet. Moreover, since the ancient volcanic rocks are as old as our solar system, they could also shed light on the genesis of life on Earth and on how we should proceed in our quest for signs of life on other planets.