(ORDO NEWS) — NASA said the Perseverance rover has analyzed the most organic-rich samples on Mars, and there could be more than meets the eye.
More than a year after exploring the crater that scientists believe was an ancient lake, the Perseverance rover may finally have found something interesting. NASA said at a briefing that the rover had collected the most organic-rich material from the crater.
However, this does not mean that there could be life there. For now, this means that there may be chances for some unique discoveries when these samples arrive on Earth.
The rover has collected four samples from an ancient river delta that is believed to be promising in terms of finding signs of ancient microbial life.
“We have found sandstone containing grains and rock fragments from far away from Lake Jezero crater, and mudstone containing interesting organic compounds,” said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley.
What did the Perseverance rover find?
It is known that organic molecules contain a variety of compounds, consisting mainly of carbon, and usually include hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
These molecules also contain nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. The presence of these specific molecules is considered to be a potential biosignal that may be indicative of biological life existing in the distant past.
In July, the rover drilled a hole in the rock, which is billions of years old. The rock, dubbed Wild Cat Ridge, was formed billions of years ago when mud and fine sand settled in an evaporating salt water lake.
The rover explored some of the surfaces of the Wildcat Ridge, scanning habitable areas for the presence of organic matter and chemicals.
Rover discovered a class of organic molecules that correlate with sulfate mineral molecules. NASA said sulfate minerals found in sedimentary rock layers could provide important information about the aquatic environment in which they formed.
In the distant past, sand, mud and salt were deposited in conditions where life could flourish here. What is important is that the substance found in the sedimentary rock is similar to that found on Earth with the fossilized remains of ancient life, Farley added.
Scientists are eagerly waiting for rock samples to arrive on Earth. This may happen in the next 10 years, as a global program has already been launched to bring samples from Mars.
Earlier we talked about the amazing discovery of the rover , which discovered an unusual fossil resembling an Egyptian sphinx.
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