Scientists working on the mission also say the rock samples, which the pirates have in storage tubes for future return to Earth, have the right chemical recipe to if it ever existed, they preserve evidence of ancient Martian life.
The new research is based on three large studies published Wednesday, one in the journal Science and the other in the journal Science Advances. The Journals are very technical and experienced hype – they dare to be dull as dirt – but learned people translate into a more exciting story.
“It’s amazing. We find organic matter in almost every rock,” said Abigail Allwood, a geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, which operates the Mars Sample Return mission.
One of the studies I threw the rocks into the crater experienced three events in which the water was clear.
“Conclusively, the conditions in the rock each day that water migrated through it could support small communities of microorganisms,” lead author Michael Tice, a geologist at Texas A&M University, said in an email. In a subsequent interview, he added, “We won’t know until the samples are brought back to Earth.”
Perseverance Calf’s Eye landed in Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021, and has wandered since, caching rock samples along the way after returning to Earth for scrutiny. This is an ambitious, multiphase mission that will send NASA and its partner, the European Space Agency, another vehicle to the Martian surface with the ability to launch samples into orbit. The spacecraft would then bring those samples back to Earth for laboratory research. The exact time has yet to be determined, but NASA hopes to have the prototypes on home turf by the early 2030s.
This study of Mars is part of the blossoming young field of astrobiology, which includes the search for potentially habitable worlds and the first example of extraterrestrial life. Despite the efforts of generations of scientists, and even the rights of UFO buffs, the discovery of life beyond Earth remains aspirational.
Even finding organics — friendly molecules with combinations of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen — is a far cry from finding life or even proof of its presence in the past. Such molecules can be either biological or nonbiological in origin.
However, Mars is front and center in NASA research because it has many secondary conditions. Mars was probably much more terrestrial 3 billion years ago, with warmer and wetter conditions. Life once existed simultaneously on Earth and Mars, and may have originated on Mars and spread to Earth via meteorites. And although the surface is now a dry desert, the planet could have liquid water in significant quantities below the surface, and possibly “cryptic” life.
Although the pirate Perseverance does not have the instruments to detect chemically living organisms if they exist today, their instruments give scientists the ability to study the Martian surface at a level of detail never before possible.
One of the new papers closely examining the chemistry of Mars has given geologists a surprise. They had decided to dig a trench for sedimentary rocks. The rocks are instead of grinding.
Jezero Crater formed in an impact event — a rock pushed into Mars — at least 3.5 billion years ago. The shallow bowl clearly once had water in it. This can be determined from the orbital images showing the remnants of the delta where the river flowed into the lake. Planetary geologists had assumed that the area of the crater was covered in sedimentary rock, made up of dirt and debris that had slowly accumulated at the bottom of the lake.
If such sedimentary rock was there, it is now gone. He said it might be an erosion tick. The lack of sedimentary rock could mean the lake didn’t last very long, which would be a surprise to astrobiologists. Life as we know it needs water, it takes time for more complex life forms to evolve. If the lake did not stop, life could be uprooted.
The molar rocks are not lost, though, because they preserve loads of information about Mars’ past, even in the presence of organic molecules, they said. The presence of organic matter on Mars has been confirmed in previous missions, but their precise nature and chemistry cannot be discerned by such a long-distance search and will require laboratory scrutiny on Earth, according to Bethany Ehlmann, a planetary scientist at Caltech and co-author of the two new papers.
“Are there only organics that have been washed into the system – perhaps from meteoritic material that was part of the water? It takes very little. Or are there tiny bits of microbial life living in the cavities of these rocks? That would be flattery,” said Ehlmann.
He added that the pirates “collect a formidable array of samples to tell the history of Mars in all its forms, the volcanic history, the history of the waters, the relevance of organics to those rich water environments.”
All of this is an attempt to solve the fundamental mystery of Mars: What went wrong? How and when and why did this planet, which seems to be compatible with life, turn into such a harsh place? The Red Planet may not be a dead planet – the coronation report is incomplete – but it certainly looks like one.
Scientists say something Mars lacks today: a global magnetic field similar to Earth’s. Such a field protects Our atmosphere is the result of the caustic effects of the solar wind — high-energy particles constantly streaming from the sun that can pull down lighter molecules. Mars also lacks plate tectonics, the geological process that pushes back crust on Earth and continues to spew water and nutrient-rich lava through active volcanoes.
Somewhere along the way, Mars’ magnetic field died, and then it is another kind of planet. He lost almost all of the air. It became a cold desert world. How quickly it happened is unknown; but that is what might be revealed in the crater of the millstone.
The magma contains a certain amount of iron, which is felt by the magnetism of the planet. As the lava cools, it crystallizes into igneous rock, condensing electrons inside iron minerals into shapes that could reveal features of the magnetic field, such as its orientation.
Benjamin Weiss, a planetary scientist at MIT and co-author of the two papers, said in an email, “On balance we’re really lucky that there are rocks in the crater, and that they happened to land on them. They’re ideal for determining ages and studying the history of the field.” magnetic Tuesday next.
Once the mission can send its precious rock collection back to Earth, scientists will finally be able to tell if life ever found a place on Mars – which would raise new questions about whether, despite the planet’s dramatic transformation, life somehow managed to persist. .
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