Martian crater Lake was definitely a lake saturated with organic material

(ORDO NEWS) — On February 18, 2021, the NASA Perseverance rover landed at the bottom of the Martian crater Lake, which, as it was believed long before the mission was organized, was once a deep-sea lake. The data provided by Perseverance unambiguously confirmed this.

In addition, analysis of the collected samples shows that the waters of this ancient lake contained a large number of organic molecules, which is an important milestone in the search for possible traces of ancient life on the Red Planet.

It is important to note that organic molecules by themselves are not proof of the existence of life on the Red Planet, but their presence significantly increases the likelihood that Mars was or even remains a habitable world.

Lake – deep lake

One of the key arguments in favor of Lake being a lake in the distant past is the igneous rocks found at the bottom of the crater.

The study showed that they were formed from magma associated with either volcanism or asteroid impacts. And these stones have all the signs of prolonged exposure to water.

“It looks like Lake crater is indeed what we suspected based on orbital images,” Joseph Razzell Hollis, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist and one of the authors of the study.

About 3-3.5 billion years ago it was a lake.

And it’s really intriguing, because liquid water on Mars was around the same time that life began on Earth.

So the question arises, did the water of Mars contain the building blocks for life?”

Hollis and study co-author Eva Scheller used data from the SHERLOC spectrometer to study rocks in Lake Jezero Crater. In olivine-rich samples, the instrument detected the fluorescence of certain organic compounds.

“They organic compounds could potentially be the building blocks of life, but we won’t know for sure until we analyze these samples in more detail,” Hollis added.

And that’s why Perseverance “caches” them. It [the rover] collects rock samples and stores them in special capsules.”

Martian crater Lake was definitely a lake saturated with organic material 2
Sample collection process

These capsules will then be assembled and brought to Earth as part of a mission that will likely take place after 2030.

When the samples reach Earth’s laboratory, they will be subjected to an analysis impossible on Mars that will determine the origin of the molecules and whether they may indicate habitability on Mars.

Intriguing Mars

The discovery of organic molecules at the bottom of the Lake crater and, in particular, in igneous rocks is also interesting for another reason.

NASA’s second operational Mars rover, Curiosity, has found similar compounds in sediment at the bottom of Gale Crater.

The discovery of organic materials in such diverse environments strongly suggests that organics were common on the Red Planet.

“If you’re looking for the best chance for life to evolve, you need these ingredients,” says Dr. Hollis.

“If you found them in only one place, it would indicate that life had only one chance to be born.

Finding them everywhere suggests that the entire planet could potentially contain the ingredients for the emergence of life.”


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