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NASA rover makes strange discovery on Mars: “Really puzzling”

NASA rover makes strange discovery on Mars: “Really puzzling”

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NASA's Curiosity rover makes a startling discovery in a former lake on Mars. The research is puzzling: Where does the oxygen we need come from?

Los Alamos – According to the American space organization NASA, manganese is considered to be present on Earth “The unsung hero of the evolution of life”. Now the Mars rover Curiosity has found manganese oxide in surprisingly large quantities on the red planet, posing a mystery to research. “Manganese oxide is difficult to form on the surface of Mars, so we did not expect to find it in such high concentrations,” explains Patrick Gasda of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

A team led by Gasda made this discovery using “curiosity.” In the specialized magazine Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets published. “On Earth, these types of deposits exist all the time because the high oxygen levels in our atmosphere are created by photosynthesis and by microbes that catalyze these manganese oxidation reactions,” Gasda says in one article. notice. However, there is no evidence of life on Mars, and how oxygen (essential for manganese oxidation) is produced in the Martian atmosphere is unclear.

NASA's Curiosity rover is searching for signs that conditions in Gale Crater on Mars could support microbial life. © NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA's Curiosity rover detects manganese oxide on Mars – a sign of life?

“It is truly puzzling how manganese oxide forms and is concentrated here,” Gasda concludes. “These results point to larger processes in the Martian atmosphere or in surface waters and show that more needs to be done to prevent oxidation.” Curiosity: Hexagonal cracks were recently discovered on the Martian floor. It is an important discovery for research.

NASA's Curiosity spacecraft discovered manganese oxide in the center of Gale Crater, where it landed in 2012 and has been exploring it ever since. To do this, the rover “shoots” interesting rocks to investigate using lasers, among other things. Small pieces of it evaporate – Curiosity then analyzes the vapor cloud using something called a ChemCam. The research team found that manganese oxide makes up nearly half of the rocks analyzed.

Curiosity finds manganese oxide on the shore of a suspected Martian lake

The research team assumes that the place where Curiosity discovered manganese oxide must have been on the shore of a lake. It is said that a river flowed into the lake there. On Earth, rocks rich in manganese oxide have also been found on the shores of shallow lakes.

Astrobiologist Manasvi Lingam, who was not involved in the study, explains that the newly discovered rocks on Mars are “additional evidence of the presence of liquid water on Mars in the past, which is beneficial for life.” Opposite the gate Live Science. “This work provides evidence supporting habitability.”

NASA rover offers 'glimpse into habitable environment' on Mars

“The environment of Gale Lake, as revealed by these ancient rocks, gives us a glimpse of a habitable environment similar to today’s sites,” says Nina Lanza, principal investigator of Curiosity’s ChemCam instrument. “Manganese minerals are widespread in shallow waters. Earth's lake water is rich in oxidation, and it is remarkable to find such distinctive features on ancient Mars.

NASA's Curiosity rover isn't alone on Mars: The Perseverance rover is also exploring the Red Planet — but in a different area. There he actually deciphered the past of water on Mars and discovered a stone that surpassed all previous discoveries. (unpaid bill)