NASA’s Mars rover picks up rocks to indicate the presence of life on the planet

NASA’s rover has arrived at an area at the base of Jezero Crater on Mars, where it will search for rocks formed when flowing water deposited fine-grained sediments, and researchers hope that within these sedimentary rocks are organic molecules, which are signs of ancient life.

According to “Space”, NASA scientists were keen to search the area, dubbed the “Urey Corridor”, inside Mars’ Jezero Crater, an ancient fan-shaped river delta formed about 3.5 billion years ago at the confluence of the Martian River. and the lake.

The site attracted attention after scientists discovered a rock there that resembled a sandstone rock sample collected by Perseverance in July.

Rock sampling is an integral part of Perseverance’s goal of searching the Jezero Crater for any signs of life on the Red Planet, for any element, molecule or substance characteristic of life.

“We often prioritize studying fine-grained sedimentary rocks like these in our search for organics and potential biosignatures,” Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist for Perseverance at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said in a statement.

The geology is also exciting for the team because scientists consider these fine rocks to have the best chance of preserving evidence of life because they contain a higher concentration of clay materials that can shield large organic molecules from the sun’s harsh rays, preventing them from degrading and remaining in their old state.

The Perseverance rover has been exploring Jezero Crater since it touched down on Mars in February 2021 during a landing imaged by the spacecraft.

Perseverance has since collected 14 core rock and atmospheric samples, which have been stored in the rover’s belly.

The rover’s sample-collection mission began in September 2021, when it successfully drilled the first soft rock core from Jezero Crater and placed it in a sealed titanium sample tube.

These samples are a key component of the joint NASA/ESA sample return mission, which aims to send a spacecraft to Mars, collect Martian samples from Perseverance, and return them to Earth for depth.

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