Perseverance finds life-friendly traces in the Martian crater

published

NASA missionSensational rock finds on Mars

Newly published studies from NASA on the Mars mission of the rover Perseverance show that Mars may once have been home to life: Molecules that form the basis for this were found in “almost every rock” in the Jezero crater.

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A new image from a trip to the Mars rover.

NASA/JPL Caltech

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A “selfie” of Perseverance in Jezero Crater from 2021.

AFP

Here, Perseverance will be deployed to the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021.

Here, Perseverance will be deployed to the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021.

AFP

The Mars rover, which weighs about 1,000 kilograms, has been rolling since February 2021 perseverance over the surface of the red planet and always gives new insights into the past of the planet. Time and time again, the rover and the small Ingenuity helicopter send radio data back to Earth, giving the researchers clues to the history of Mars — and that life once existed, so-called biosignatures. The mission falls into the field of young astrobiology, which searches for life beyond our Earth and other potentially habitable planets.

In three new Studies published this week are about rock finds in the Jezero crater. “It’s amazing. We find organic material in almost every rock,” enthuses geologist Abigail Allwood of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, “which is responsible for Perseverance’s operations.” “Washington Post”. One of the three studies notes that the rocks in Jezero Crater came into contact with water three different times. “In principle, the conditions in the rock could have been favorable for small colonies of microorganisms during each phase of water flow,” says geologist Michael Tice. However, scientists do not yet know whether the traces are of biological origin or not.

What Happened to Mars’ Magnetic Field?

The researchers assume that the Jezero crater was once created by a meteorite impact and later filled with water. However, it is unclear whether this was the case long enough for life to develop. You will only find out more precisely when the collected rock samples to earth were brought – and this requires a second vehicle to be brought to the surface of Mars, which can blast the monsters into orbit. There they have to be collected by a spaceship and brought to Earth – it will probably take at least another ten years for that to happen.

The exciting question for the researchers is whether Mars will ever come to live harbored what may have happened later that turned the planet into an inhospitable desert. For life on Earth could very well have started on Mars or developed in parallel. What Mars today lacks to develop an atmosphere and thus protection against the particles transported by the solar wind is a magnetic field. Whether and when such a thing existed is one of the central questions the researchers want to answer in the future.

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