NASA’s persistent probe took samples from a crater on Mars that may have harbored microbial life.
Scientists believe that the rock formed about 3.5 billion years ago;
The rock samples will be brought back to Earth from 2023.
Core samples excavated by roving probe from NASA On Mars they are revealing the geology of a crater that scientists suspect may have harbored microbial life billions of years ago, according to articles in Science and Science Advances.
The samples, which were obtained by the motorized vehicle and stored for transportation to Earth in the future for further study, showed that the rocks inside the Jezero Crater are igneous – formed by cooling magma. The rocks also showed evidence of alteration from exposure to water, another sign that cold, dry Mars had been hot and humid for a long time.
Scientists believe that the rock, which formed about 3.5 billion years ago, could be a sedimentary that formed as mud and sand deposited on the bottom of a lake.
“In fact, we found no evidence of sedimentary rocks where the rover explored the crater floor, although we know that the crater once housed a lake and that sediment was deposited,” said Kenneth Farley, a geochemist at Caltech. , lead author of one of four studies published in the journals Science and Science Advances describing the geology of the crater, “These sedimentary deposits must have eroded away.”
Perseverance arrived at Mars in February 2021 and has been actively working on the Jezero Crater ever since, using an array of instruments, as scientists investigate whether Earth’s closest neighbor had conditions favorable for life.
It collects rock samples, the size of chalk on a board, in small tubes that are retrieved by a spacecraft in the year 2033 and bring them back to Earth for further examination, including biomarkers – indicators of life.
Jezero Crater is 45 kilometers wide, located north of the Martian equator. The area appears to have once been abundant in water and was home to a river delta, with river channels scattered over the crater wall to form a large lake. Scientists believe the crater may have harbored microbial life, with evidence possibly at the bottom of a lake or coastal rock.
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