Another Mars mission starts todayNASA called "2020 NASA Perseverance", which will deliver the Perseverance rover to Mars by the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to continue the search for astrobiological evidence of ancient life on Mars. Meanwhile, NASA officials announced that a tiny 10p piece of Martian basalt will be sent to Mars along with the newest rover. The stone is a splinter of the Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU 008) meteorite, which was previously kept at the Natural History Museum in London.
In addition to the spectacular return gesturethe Martian stone to its homeland, NASA pursues practical goals, in particular, for the calibration of Perseverance instruments. Modern spacecraft launches are increasingly accompanied by spectacular shows with varying degrees of success. So Musk successfully launched his Tesla into space with a robot on board, and the Russian robot Fedor flew to the ISS station. This time, however, the spectacular conclusion to the space Odyssey of a tiny Martian rock is justified not only by the need for the show.
The fact is that the SaU 008 stone, whose ageabout 450 million years, stayed on the surface of Mars for a long time, until 600 thousand years ago it was launched into space by a blow on the surface of the planet of a large asteroid. After that, the stone, flying through the solar system for several hundred thousand years, successfully landed a thousand years ago on the territory of modern Oman, where it was discovered in 1999.
The main feature of the SaU 008 meteorite ispreservation of gas bubbles in its structure, with the "conserved" ancient atmosphere of Mars. Using data on the chemical composition of the meteorite, the Perseverance rover instruments were calibrated, among which the most important SHERLOC, the task of which will be a high-precision study of the Martian rock using lasers, as well as the identification of organics to confirm the existence of a past life on Mars.
It is also important that the stone has spent over half a million years in space, which has proved its unusually high strength, sufficient to travel back to its homeland.