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NASA's Mars 2020 rover looks for signs of past microbiological life



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ANI |
Updated:
November 13, 2019 EAST

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Washington. [USA], November 13 (ANI): In what could shed more light on the red planet, Mars; NASA scientists have discovered what may be one of the best places to look for signs of ancient life.
The agency that is due to send its rover to Red Planet next year has revealed that Cesero Crater, where the rover will descend on February 18, 2021; may show some signs of ancient life, according to a paper published in the journal Icarus.
It identifies various mineral deposits called carbonates along the inner edge of the lake, the site of the lake more than 3.5 billion years ago.
On Earth, carbonates help form structures that are barely enough to survive for billions of years in fossil form, including shells, corals and some stromatolites – rocks formed on this planet from ancient microbiological life along the ancient coast, where the sun was and the sun. plentiful.
The possibility of stromatolite-like structures existing on Mars is why the concentration of carbonates that follow the Cesero coast as a bathtub ring makes the area a major scientific hunting ground.
Mars 2020 is NASA's next mission with a focus on astrobiology. Will will search for true signs of microbiological life in the past, taking samples of rocky cores that will be deposited in metal pipes on Mars' surface. Future missions could bring these samples back to Earth for deeper study.
In addition to preserving the signs of ancient life, carbonates can learn more about how Mars moved from liquid water to a thicker atmosphere in today's freezing desert.
They act as time capsules that scientists can study to learn when – and how – the Red Planet has begun to dry.
The Cesero Crater is 28 miles wide by 45 minutes and was once home to the ancient river delta.
The "arms" of this delta can be seen descending through the crater, in images taken from space by satellite missions, like the NASA Mars Discovery Orbiter.
The compact orbital spectrometer for orbiting Mars, or CRISM, has helped to produce colorful "bathtub ring" mineral maps detailed in new work.
"CRISM spotted the carbonate here a few years ago, but only recently have we noticed how concentrated they are where the lake is," said lead author Brioni Jorgan of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
"Throughout we will find carbonate deposits in many locations throughout the mission, but the bathtub ring will be one of the most exciting places to visit," Jorgan added.
It is not guaranteed that coastal carbonates were formed in the lake; they could have been deposited before the lake was present. The Mars 2020 team expects to investigate both the crater floor and the delta during its two-year primary rover mission.
"The possibility that the 'marginal carbonates' formed in the lakeside environment was one of the most exciting features that led us to our landing site in Lake Jezero. said Mars 2020 project deputy scientist Ken Wilford of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The JPL is leading the 2020 mission.
The former shore of Lake Jezero is not the only place scientists are excited to visit. A new study in Geophysical Research Letters points to a rich deposit of hydrated silica on the edge of the ancient river delta. Like carbonates, this mineral is characterized by the preservation of the signs of ancient life. If this location proves to be the bottom layer of the delta, this would be a particularly good place to look for buried microbiological fossils. (ANI)

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