On the eve of the start of the mission, “NASA Perseverance 2020”, scheduled on 30 July, NASA announced an unusual cargo that will travel to Mars onboard the new Rover. This is the subject, which once belonged to the red planet – a fragment of Martian meteorite Sayḩ al Uhaymir 008 (SaU 008). People decided to return to his home in pursuit of two goals: the practical and the symbolic.
With symbolism, everything is simple – it is a bright infopovod, which has lately become a space projects of the Americans (for example, launch into space and the Tesla Roadster – no good, but mediapovod excellent). Stone SaU 008 was formed 450 million years ago, he was resting peacefully in the soil of Mars, while 600-700 thousand years ago, a big asteroid strike or comet knocked him into space. There he wandered, until about 1000 years ago, landed in Oman. Scientists have studied it thoroughly and now ready to return to Mars precious gift which has enriched our science.
From a practical point of view, more complex and interesting. First, SaU 008 – one of the most durable of the Martian meteorites at the disposal of earthlings, other samples send in this way is risky. Second, in SaU 008 preserved gas bubbles, identical to the composition of the ancient Martian atmosphere. The mineral composition of the meteorite and other parameters became the basis for the calibration of the latest and most important detector Perseverance SHERLOC. He will be using laser to study the composition of Martian rocks with unprecedented precision.
It is the accuracy and sensitivity of the instrument and became a decisive argument. Scientists know exactly what to expect from the well-studied SaU 008, therefore, the analysis of Martian soil SHERLOC will use the meteorite as a reference, a starting point in search of new specimens. The instrument will calibrate on the go, will be more noise immune and efficient in operation.