(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the University of Florida using the Perseverance rover have found traces of water erosion on Martian rocks, which NASA now plans to bring to Earth to study them for signs of living organisms. The results of the study are published in the journal Science Advances.
The rock samples were taken from the bottom of Lake Jezero Crater and the nearby delta of a dried-up river that once flowed into the ancient lake.
On Earth, life flourishes in such places, so it is very likely that traces of ancient Martian organisms can be found here.
The Perseverance rover landed at the bottom of the Lake Lake crater in February 2021 under the control of NASA.
Scientists obtained data on the geological composition of the crater floor using a set of instruments aboard the rover that can photograph and analyze the chemical composition of rocks.
The team of scientists found that the floor of the crater had been eroded to a greater extent than they expected: erosion exposed igneous rocks formed by lava and magma.
Samples of these rocks are planned to be returned to Earth for more detailed study, which could reveal signs of ancient life on Mars.
NASA and the European Space Agency plan to return rock samples to Earth around 2033. The ambitious plan calls for the creation of the first ship that can launch from the surface of Mars and dock with an orbiter that will bring samples back to Earth.
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