NASA’s Perseverance to Discover Organic Molecules on Mars

After walking around Jezero crater in 550 Martian days, NASA’s Persistence rover amassed nearly half of its planned collection of rocks — including some containing organic molecules, a possible indication for life may have evolved there more than 3 billion years ago. These are compounds containing carbon, and often hydrogen or oxygen, that may have been crucial to the formation of life.

Ken Farley, Perseverance project scientist at Caltech, said: “We’ve discovered rocks that are deposited in a habitable environment in that lake, and we’re looking for structures. potential biology”. conference at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. In fact, the Perseverance team chose the crater as the explorer’s landing spot for that reason. It appears to be the site of an ancient river delta — a favorable location for microorganisms to emerge and thrive long ago, and finally answered the question “Are we alone in the universe?? ”

However, Farley emphasizes, organic molecules can be produced by other methods — possibly through non-biological natural processes as well. But Percy, as the passers-by call them sometimes, couldn’t pinpoint their exact origins. That’s why NASA and the European Space Agency are planning a sample return mission to pick up a variety of rocks from the region and deliver them back to Earth in the early 2030s.

The Perseverance team hopes the rover will have a long lifespan, just like its predecessor, Curiosity, is still running. (Perseverance is actually the fifth NASA probe deployed to the Red Planet.) Their preferred plan was to ask Perseverance to provide samples of the team’s favorite rock for a newly outfitted lander. hit by a small rocket, will launch samples onto an orbiter, which will then deliver them to Earth. If the mission goes according to plan, the team will launch orbiters and landers from Earth to Mars in 2027 and 2028. The spacecraft loaded with rock samples will transport them to the western desert of Utah. in 2033.

NASA also has a backup plan. In the event something happens to Percy in the next few years, the rover will also store some samples in a safe, flat place where they can be retrieved easily. Because there is hardly any weather on the planet, and very little cake that can harm the samples, the cache will be kept alive until the lander arrives. That mission will also include two helicopters — built to look like Skillful crafting that supports Perseverance’s mission — can be used for sampling.

Today Mars is completely uninhabitable. Since the planet has very little atmosphere left, it is a cold and arid wasteland, highly exposed to space radiation. But scientists believe that billions of years ago, it could have been a much more hospitable place, when it was more temperate and home to liquid water. That makes it the closest possible world to Earth ever inhabited—even if only by bacteria.

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