Reflectance of Jezero crater floor: 2. Mineralogical interpretation

1L.Mandon et al. (>10)
Journal of Geophysical research (Planets) Link to Article []
1LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, Université de Paris, Meudon, France
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

The Perseverance rover landed in the ancient lakebed of Jezero crater, Mars on February 2021. Here we assess the mineralogy of the rocks, regolith, and dust measured during the first year of the mission on the crater floor, using the visible and near-infrared spectrometer of SuperCam onboard the Perseverance rover. Most of the minerals detected from orbit are present in the bedrock, with olivine-bearing rocks at the bottom of the stratigraphy and high-Ca pyroxene-bearing rocks at the top. This is distinct from the overall low-Ca pyroxene-bearing composition of the watershed of Jezero, and points towards an igneous origin. Alteration mineral phases were detected in most of the rocks analyzed in low proportions, suggesting that aqueous alteration of the crater floor has been spatially widespread, but limited in intensity and/or time. The diverse aqueous mineralogy suggests that the aqueous alteration history of the crater floor consists of at least two stages, to form phyllosilicates and oxyhydroxides, and later sulfates. We interpret their formation in a lake or under deeper serpentinization conditions, and in an evaporative environment, respectively. Spectral similarities of dust with some rock coatings suggest widespread past processes of dust induration under liquid water activity late in the history of Jezero. Analysis of the regolith revealed some local inputs from the surrounding rocks. Relevant to the Mars Sample Return mission, the spectral features exhibited by the rocks sampled on the crater floor are representative of the diversity of spectra measured on the geological units investigated by the rover.


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