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NASA's spacecraft makes an important discovery in Jezero Crater

NASA's spacecraft makes an important discovery in Jezero Crater

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The stone found on Mars is of great interest for research. However, it is questionable whether a Mars sample could be examined on Earth.

Pasadena – on behalf of the US Space Agency NASA The Perseverance rover has been analyzing rocks in Jezero Crater for more than three years Mars. The rover has already filled 24 small containers with samples that will one day be returned to Earth. But now Perseverance has made a discovery that dwarfs all previous discoveries. “Quite simply, this is the type of rock we were hoping to find when we decided to study Jezero Crater,” says Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Examination of the latest discovery on Mars suggests that the stone must have been in the water for a long time, perhaps on the shore of ancient Mars. “Almost all of the minerals in the rocks we sampled formed in water,” Farley notes of one of these samples. notice NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA's spacecraft analyzes Martian rock and makes an important discovery

The researcher explains that minerals formed in water have a special meaning on Earth: “On Earth, minerals deposited in water are often good at trapping and preserving organic materials and ancient biosignatures. Could a stone contain possible preserved traces?” Previous Martian life? At least that's the hope of scientists on Earth. Analysis of the rock can also provide information about the climate conditions that existed on Mars at the time of its formation.

Sandra Sellstrom of the Swedish Research Institutes (RISE) in Stockholm confirms that the newly analyzed stone is one of the oldest stones examined by Perseverance on Mars. “This is important because Mars was more habitable early in its history.” Another reason why scientists want to examine the stone in more detail.

Take a NASA rover
NASA's Perseverance rover is taking a rock sample from Mars, which is exciting researchers. © NASA/JPL, Caltech

Perseverance decomposes Martian rock – it could contain traces of life

The size of the rock that the Mars rover “Perseverance” sampled and analyzed is about 1.7 times the size of one meter. Because it's not flat, it's less dusty than its surroundings, and it's easier to study with the rover's instruments. According to NASA, the rock, called Bunsen Peak, is made up of three-quarters of carbonate grains held together by almost pure silicon dioxide.

“The silica and fragments of carbonate appear to be microcrystals and are therefore particularly suited to capturing and preserving signs of microbial life that may have once lived in this environment,” Sellstrom says. “Therefore, this sample is ideal for biosignature studies when returned to Earth.” A biosignature is a substance or structure that could be evidence of past life on Mars.

NASA wants to bring samples of Mars from the Perseverance rover to Earth

The 24 sample containers that Perseverance has deposited on the Red Planet for a future return operation (“Mars Sample Return”) contain different things: 21 sample containers contain various drill samples, and two more contain Martian debris (broken rocks). And dust), and in one of these images, NASA's spacecraft captured some of the atmosphere of Mars.

However, it is currently uncertain whether and when Mars samples will be returned to Earth for further analysis. After a panel found that NASA's return plans were too expensive and complicated, the US space agency is currently working on a new plan. “Returning samples to Mars will be one of the most complex missions NASA has ever undertaken,” NASA CEO Bill Nelson said in a statement.

The red planet Mars.  The massive Valles Marineris fault system can be clearly seen even from orbit.  Nearby is a newly discovered volcano.  (icon image)
The red planet Mars. The massive Valles Marineris fault system can be clearly seen even from orbit. Nearby is a newly discovered volcano. (Avatar) © imago/StockTrek Images

“Landing and collecting samples safely, launching a rocket with samples from another planet — something that has never been done before — and safely transporting samples back to Earth over 53 million kilometers is no easy task.” Researchers are excited to finally be able to analyze soil samples from Mars on Earth. (unpaid bill)

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