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Mars rocks are taken from Perseverance.

The Mars Perseverance rover finds possible evidence of life

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The Mars rover Perseverance finds possible evidence of life in rocks. © dpa / JPL-Caltech

The Mars Perseverance rover may have found evidence of life on Mars. Rock samples from the Red Planet have shown organic molecules.

PASADENA – Life on Mars instantly conjures up images of a green Mars with antennae. But whether there is life on the Red Planet and what it looks like is unknown, even after years of research. Scholars NASA The first clues can now be found.

Mars Mission ‘Perseverance’: NASA Scientists Detect Signs of Life

affiliate The Mars Perseverance rover has been exploring Mars since its February 2021 landing. The rover’s job is to examine and collect rocks. Currently, the robot is in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe scientists American The space agency is “Urey-Pass,” says the NASA mission website. The area is located near the base of the ancient river delta of the Jezero crater. The rover may have found evidence of life there.

Martian rocks discovered in the Yuar Passage show signs of a watery past and are teeming with organic molecules that form the basis of life as we know it. Scientists hope the rover may have hit fertile ground earlier.

Organic Molecules in Rock Samples: Has Life Found on Mars?

Like the experts in an American newspaper Washington Post They hope, they explain, that the rock samples will contain the correct chemical composition to preserve evidence of ancient life on Mars, if it ever existed. “It’s amazing. We find organic matter in almost every rock,” Abigail Allwood, a geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, told the paper.

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“Crucially, conditions in the rock may have supported small communities of microorganisms during any time that water was migrating through the rock,” said lead author Michael Tice, a geologist at Texas A&M University.

NASA scientists are studying rock samples from Mars

However, the discovery of organic matter – life-friendly molecules that contain groups of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen – does not mean that the probe has detected life on Mars. Particles can be of both biological and non-biological origin. The rocks that Perseverance have found so far are of volcanic origin. Jezero Crater was formed as a result of a collision of rocks with Mars at least 3.5 billion years ago.

However, scientists can only be certain when they can examine rock samples on Earth. The collected rocks will be lowered to Earth after the rover mission. An exact timetable for landing the samples has not yet been set, but scientists expect to be able to study them in the early 2030s.

NASA’s Mars Mission: Rover finds possible evidence of life

“Is it just organic matter that was washed into the system — maybe meteorite material that was just part of the water? That would be less exciting. Or is it small pockets of microbial life living in the cavities of these rocks?” said Bethany Elman, a planetary scientist at Caltech and co-author in Washington Post.

NASA made headlines recently with its “Artemis 1” lunar mission: The US space agency announces one success after another, outperforming even Apollo 13..