NASA robot identifies promising signs of fossils on Mars

Great news for space exploration fans! The Perseverance robot, designed by NASA, managed to find some traces in Martian rocks that point to the possible presence of fossils.

If the theories are correct, these remains will indicate that there once existed a large lake inside the Jezero Crater in Mars.

The six-wheeled probe has been on the alien planet for a thousand days and, so far, has managed to collect 23 samples, thus completing the exploration of the ancient river delta, according to the announcement made during the Union of American Geophysicists conference, held in the city from San Francisco, in the USA.

The collected material was preserved in metal tubes, specially designed to preserve such materials, and must be brought back to our planet through a joint mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA.

“We chose Jezero Crater as our landing site because the lake that once filled it was a potentially habitable environment, and the rocks of the river delta are an excellent place to look for signs of ancient life, such as fossils,” commented Ken Farley of California Institute of Technology.

How did this crater originate?

Perseverance Robot – Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Reproduction

According to scientists, around 4 billion years ago, an asteroid crashed into the ground of Marsand the impact formed the Jezero crater, a study point for the Perseverance probe.

Then, hundreds of millions of years passed, and sand and mud would indicate the birth of the first river, full of salt-rich rocks.

According to the information collected so far, a shallow lake would have originated from this river structure and expanded until it reached 35 km in diameter and 30 meters in depth.

One of the most promising samples even contained large amounts of silica, a substance famous for its preservative properties.

In the same vein, another sample contains a lot of phosphate, an essential molecule for the existence of life as it is known here on Earth.

Therefore, both are rich in a mineral called carbonate, a component that is usually found in aquatic ecosystems and contributes to the preservation of organic molecules.

“It’s the kind of environment where, on Earth, the remains of ancient life could be preserved and then found,” said Morgan Cable of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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