Perseverance rover collects evidence that suggests Mars may be habitable

The Jezero Crater on Mars contained features that suggested it may have preserved organic remains of the ancient presence of water. This fact may indicate that the Red Planet was a habitable environment in the past and, finally, the Perseverance rover has made it possible to confirm this. There was a large lake in Jezero.

The NASA mission landed in the crater on February 18, 2021, and has since traveled over 13 kilometers on the surface of Mars. After more than a year of hard work, analysis of rocks excavated by Perseverance revealed that there are signs of a watery past who also has organic molecules which are the basis of life as we know it.

Part of the Martian samples collected for the expedition will be sent to Earth Mars sample return, in which NASA collaborates with the European Space Agency (ESA). Scientists detail how rock samples have been stored in tubes that will be returned to the ship European Earth Return Orbiter.

The Mars samples will be sent by rocket to a spacecraft and from there to Earth.

The great lake of Jezero existed 3.5 billion years ago

Three studies were published yesterday: one in the journal Science and two in Science Advances. These investigations are “very technical”, according to The Washington Post, but their authors have translated them for the media so that the public can know the importance of said discovery.

Abigail Allwood, a geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena who works with the rover and on Mars sample return, calls the discovery “surprising”: “In almost all rocks we find organic compounds.”

In addition, the data collected appears to indicate that they may have moved through rocks. “small communities of microorganisms”, Thanks to the flow of water on Mars, according to geologist Michael Tice of Texas A&M University. Experts believe that the probe cannot be conclusive until the samples are brought to Earth, but the studies are quite favourable.

Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star other than the Sun.

According to scientists, the large lake that was located where the Jezero Crater now exists about 3.5 billion years ago. At that time, Mars was not the cold and dry planet it is today, so the surrounding conditions may have fostered life as we know it.

Bethany Ehlmann, a planetary scientist at Caltech, says that when the samples reach Earth, researchers will have to ask new questions: “Are they just organic matter that got washed into the system, perhaps from meteoritic material that was part of the water? That would be exciting to say the least. Or are they tiny niches of microbial life that live in the cavities of these rocks? That would be the most exciting thing.”

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