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NASA said Mars Perseverance rover He collected rock core samples in an area considered by scientists to be the best candidate for finding signs of ancient microbial life.
In an update, the team said their latest findings provide more details about the area, with the rover taking four samples from an ancient river delta in 28-mile-wide Crater Lake since July.
In total, the rover collected 12 compelling rock samples.
The crater’s delta was formed by the merger of a Martian river and a lake about 3.5 billion years ago.
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The sedimentary rocks of the delta were formed by the settling of particles of various sizes in the environment.
During his first scientific campaign, the rover explored the crater’s floor and found igneous rock.
“For perseverance, we chose Jezero Crater to explore because we thought it had the best chance of providing scientifically perfect specimens – and now we know we’ve sent the rover to the right place,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate director of science in Washington. In a statement. “These first two science campaigns gave an incredible variety of examples to bring back to Earth with the Mars Sample Return campaign.”
“With its diverse sedimentary rocks, the delta contrasts beautifully with igneous rocks formed from the crystallization of magma discovered in the sea. crater floor“This juxtaposition provides a rich understanding of the geological history after the crater was formed and a diverse package of specimens. For example, we found a sandstone bearing grain and rock,” said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley. Pieces created far from Jezero Crater – and a mudstone containing interesting organic compounds.”
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One of these rocks is “Wildcat Ridge”, which was probably formed billions of years ago.
Perseverance eroded part of the rock so it could analyze the area with its Raman Scan for Habitable Environments and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument.
NASA said SHERLOC samples It has been found that they have a class of organic molecules that are spatially related to those of the sulfate minerals.
The presence of organic molecules that may contain elements such as sulfur is considered a potential biological signature.
While Perseverance and Curiosity Mars rovers have found evidence or organic matter before, this determination was made in an area where sediment and salts accumulated in a lake under conditions where life could potentially exist.
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“In the distant past, the sand, mud, and salts that now make up the Wildcat Ridge example were deposited under conditions in which life could potentially flourish,” Farley said. “It’s important that organic matter is found in such a sedimentary rock – known to preserve fossils of ancient life here on Earth. will have to wait until he returns to Earth for in-depth study as part of
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