itinerant perseverance subordinate Container He is working in his second year On the surface of Mars. Over the past several months, Perseverance has been exploring the remains of an ancient river delta within Mars’ Jezero Crater, which was home to a large lake billions of years ago.
In addition to collecting Mars samples, A six-wheeled robot that takes pictures and records HD videos on the surface of Mars that leave scholars and humanity breathless.
Members of the mission team said the rover’s presence in this delta is one of the main reasons NASA sent the car-sized rover to Jezero, and that the chosen location has met scientists’ expectations so far.
Perseverance collected four samples of delta formation Since the beginning of July. Now four tubes are full The remains of dirt and granitic materials were extracted from the rocks It shows that this part of Mars likely supported Earth-like organisms in the ancient past, and could also preserve signs of such microbial life.
These rock core samples belong to an area that scientists have long considered one of the best possibilities for finding signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.
“We chose Jezero Crater for perseverance to explore because we thought it had the best chance Providing scientifically excellent samples, “Now we know we’ve sent the rover to the right place,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The first two science expeditions have produced an amazing diversity of specimens to bring back to Earth through them Mars Sample Return Campaign“.
from 7 July The rover collected four samples from an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet bringing the total number of scientifically disguised rock samples to 12.
the pit Jezero, which is 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide, It is home to deltas, an ancient fan-shaped feature that formed about 3.5 billion years ago at the confluence of the Martian river and lake. Perseverance is currently examining the sedimentary rocks of the delta, which were formed when particles of various sizes once settled in an aquatic environment. During that The first scientific campaignThe rover surveyed the crater floor and found igneous rocks that form deep in the earth from magma or during volcanic activity at the surface.
“The delta, with its diverse sedimentary rocks, contrasts beautifully with igneous rocksformed by the crystallization of magma, discovered in pit floorsaid Ken Farley, a perseverance project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. “This juxtaposition gives us a rich understanding of the geological history after the crater was formed and a variety of samples. For example, we found sandstone bearing rock grains and fragments that were created far from Jezero Crater, and shale rocks that include interesting organic compounds.”
to a noticeable rock about 3 feet (1 meter) wide It has been called “Wildcat Ridge”. It may have formed billions of years ago when clay and fine sand settled in an evaporating saltwater lake. On July 20, the rover scraped part of the surface of the Wildcat Ridge. This allowed him to survey the area with a sophisticated scientific tool called the Habitable Environments Survey using Raman and fluorescence for organic and chemical compounds, or Sherlock .
According to SHERLOC analysis, samples include A class of organic molecules that are spatially related to those in sulfate minerals. Sulfate minerals in sedimentary rock layers can provide important details about the aquatic environments in which they formed.
Organic molecules consist of a variety of compounds made primarily of carbon. It usually also includes hydrogen and oxygen atoms. In addition, it may contain other elements, such as nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur. Although there are chemical processes that produce these molecules that do not require life, some of these compounds are the building blocks of life.
The presence of these specific molecules is a potential biosignature: a substance or structure that could be evidence of past life, but could also be produced without life.
In 2013, NASA’s Curiosity Mars probe was found Proof of organic matter In rock dust samples, its persistence Organic substances discovered in Jezero Crater Before.
But unlike the previous discovery, this latest discovery was made in an area where, in the distant past, sediments and salts were deposited in a lake under conditions in which life would have existed. In its analysis of Wildcat Ridge, the SHERLOC instrument recorded the most abundant organic finds on the mission to date.
“In the distant past, the sand, mud, and salts that now make up the Wildcat Ridge’s specimen were deposited in conditions where life would have thrived.Farley said. The fact that organic matter has been found in such sedimentary rocks, known to preserve fossils of ancient life here on Earth, is significant. However, as capable as our instruments aboard the Perseverance are, more conclusions about what the Wildcat Ridge sample contains will have to wait until it is brought back to Earth for in-depth study as part of the Mars campaign. Return the sample to the agency.