The rover discovered four rocks containing organic molecules, although it can only be confirmed when it returns to Earth.
itinerant perseverance She has reached a major milestone in her search for traces of life on Mars. The robot I sent Container Found rocks containing organic molecules which, according to experts, could be “A possible way of life”, Something to be confirmed when he returns to Earth before 2033.
“We now know that the rover is in the right place,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s director of science, at a press conference organized by the US space agency and broadcast live.
samples Contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is the first Martian rock rich in organic molecules.
This is not yet evidence that life existed on the Red Planet, but it does exist Best chance so far Being able to detect ancient microbial life with certainty.
The biological signature may have been produced by the presence of life, but Also through an inert process. To consider this biosignature definitive, samples must be analyzed by powerful laboratory instruments on Earth.
“We don’t yet know the significance of these finds, but these rocks are exactly what we came for,” said Ken Farley, the mission’s science lead.
The last four rocks have been collected by Perseverance as of July 7 They are sedimentarydifferent from the volcanic ones that began accumulating elsewhere in the Jezero Crater about a year ago.
Rocks mainly include carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but Also nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur: These molecules can be produced through chemical processes that do not involve the presence of life.
Two pieces were cut by drilling into the named rock “Wildcat Ridge”, It has an area of approximately one meter and is located in a delta formed about 3,500 million years ago at the junction between an ancient river and lake.
It is particularly interesting because it is a sedimentary rock that appears to have formed around the time the water in the lake evaporated.
The “Wildcat Mountain Range” also has “great potential for bio-footprint preservation,” said Schuster, an expert at the University of California, Berkeley.
To analyze it, the Sherloc instrument equipped with a Watson camera was involved, and the research group responsible for studying the data are Italians working at the Arcetri Observatory of the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).
The answer to the nature of these particles will almost certainly be available only when the rocks reach Earth thanks to the MSR mission sequencing, which according to Laurie Gleese, director of NASA’s Planetary Sciences Division, could begin as early as 2027. and 2028, while the first samples could reach our planet in 2033.