Complete News World

“The kind of stone we were hoping to find.”

“The kind of stone we were hoping to find.”

  1. Homepage
  2. Let's know

He presses

On Mars, NASA's Perseverance rover examines rock after rock. The latest discovery is of interest to researchers on Earth.

PASADENA — NASA's Perseverance rover has been exploring Jezero Crater on Mars for just over three years and has already impressed researchers who have evaluated its data on Earth several times. But now it appears that Perseverance has made a discovery that surpasses previous discoveries. “Quite simply, this is the kind of rock we were hoping to find when we decided to study Jezero Crater,” says Ken Farley, a Perseverance project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Analysis of the latest rocks found by NASA's Mars spacecraft shows that this rock was present in the water long ago in the past – 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 Perseverance rover makes an important discovery on Mars

On Earth, minerals formed in water are something special, the researcher explains: “On Earth, minerals deposited in water are often good at retaining and preserving organic matter and ancient biosignatures, so it's possible there was early Martian life.” keeping it saving it? At least that's the hope of scientists on Earth. Analysis of the rock should also provide researchers with information about the climate conditions that existed on Mars when it formed.

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

Sandra Sellstrom, from the Swedish Research Institutes (RISE) in Stockholm, confirms that the newly analyzed stone is likely to be one of the oldest stones examined by Perseverance on Mars. “This is important because Mars was more habitable early in its history.” This is another reason why researchers want to take a closer look at it.

Mars stone could contain traces of past life

The size of the rock from which the Mars rover “Perseverance” took the sample and analyzed it is about 1.7 times the size of a 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.

The red planet Mars.  (icon image)
The red planet Mars. (Avatar) © LiaKoltyrina/Imago

Perseverance is collecting samples from Mars for NASA that will be brought to Earth

Perseverance has previously collected 24 samples from Mars and deposited them on the Red Planet for a future return campaign (“Mars Sample Return”). Twenty-one sample containers are filled with drill samples, two of which contain Martian regolith (crushed rocks and dust), and NASA's spacecraft captured some of the Martian atmosphere in one of them. But whether and when Mars samples will be returned to Earth for further analysis is currently questionable. 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,” said NASA CEO Bill Nelson. In a message. “Safely landing, collecting samples, launching a rocket carrying samples from another planet — something that has never been done before — and safely transporting samples more than 33 million miles to Earth is no easy task.” (unpaid bill)