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Space & Astronomy

Has Perseverance already scooped up evidence of life on Mars ?

By T.K. Randall
January 29, 2024 · Comment icon 6 comments

Was there once life in Jezero crater ? Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Samples collected from Jezero crater may contain fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on the Red Planet.
Confirmation that there was once life on the Red Planet - most likely during a time in the distant past when Mars was home to rivers and oceans of liquid water - would be one of the most important scientific discoveries in the history of human civilization.

It's no surprise, then, that NASA has spent decades scouring Mars for evidence of habitability.

Its latest tool aiding in this search is Perseverance - a car-sized rover that landed on the Red Planet in 2021 and has since spent its time trundling across the surface of Jezero crater in search of clues.

Now, at last, the rover has been able to confirm that this large crater was indeed once filled with water thanks to its ground-penetrating radar that has revealed layers of sediment indicative of an ancient lake.

This means that any one of the various samples Perseverance has been collecting over the last few years could contain the fossils of ancient microbial life forms that once thrived on Mars in the distant past.
Sadly, though, we have no way of knowing this until the samples are picked up and sent back to Earth for analysis as part of NASA and ESA's ambitious Mars sample-return mission.

The first step of this will be to await the arrival of ESA's Sample Retrieval Lander which will, in the not-too-distant future, touch down on the surface and deploy a small rover.

This rover will visit and retrieve the various sample caches that Perseverance has left at different locations around Jezero crater and bring them back to the spacecraft.

The samples will then be launched into space where they will be intercepted and returned to Earth by another spacecraft known as the Earth-return orbiter (ERO).

If all goes to plan, the mission has the potential to prove the existence of life on Mars once and for all.

Source: Live Science | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Montello 1 month ago
this was river long time ago
Comment icon #2 Posted by CloudSix 1 month ago
Does anyone know why they named the crater "Jezero"? In my language, it means "lake"
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 1 month ago
Because, millions of years ago it used to be a lake.
Comment icon #4 Posted by CloudSix 1 month ago
Well I meant more why they choose the specific word in a specific language?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 1 month ago
You could have saved yourself time and got the answer to this in just a few seconds by doing what I just did, putting your question into Google or any other decent search engine. Source: Wikipedia   Source: NASA - Mars Exploration
Comment icon #6 Posted by CloudSix 1 month ago
Okay, thanks.

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