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Scientists discover mineral that can preserve signs of ancient life on Mars landing site

November 13, 2019 at 9:28 am EAST

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Washington. [USA], November 13 (ANI): In an effort to study the signs of ancient life on Mars, NASA announced last year that it would send a rover to the red planet in 2020.
It has been found that the landing site, Jezero, has a stock of hydrated silica, a mineral that appears to be particularly good at preserving biosignals. It also appears to be home to an ancient lake, according to a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
"Using the technique we have developed to help us find rare, hard-to-detect mineral phases in data taken from an orbital spacecraft, we have found two outbursts of hydrated silica in the Cesero Crater," said lead author of the study Essays Trnas. a student at Brown University.
"We know from Earth that this mineral phase is exceptional in the preservation of microfossils and other biosignatures, so this makes them exciting targets to explore for rovers," Tarnas added.
In addition, what is attractive about the landing site is the large delta formed by ancient rivers that feed the lake. The delta would concentrate a wealth of material from a vast catchment area. It is well known that the earth's deltas are good at preserving the signs of life.
Adding hydrated silica to the Jezero blend increases the potential for preservation, the researchers say.
One of the silicate deposits was found on the edge of the low delta. It is possible that minerals formed and form a lower layer of the deposit delta, which is a great scenario for preserving the signs of life.
"The material that forms the bottom layer of the delta is sometimes the most productive in terms of preserving biosignals. So if you can find that bottom layer and that layer has a lot of silica in it, it's a double bonus," co-author Jack Jack explained. Mustard, a professor at Brown.
For the study, the researchers used data from the Mars Scanning Imaging Spectrometer (CRISM), which flies above NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbit. The technique applied to CRISM data used large methods of data analysis to thicken the weak spectral signature of silicate deposits.
While the geological context of the sites suggests that they could form at the base of the delta, this is not the only possibility, the researchers have revealed in detail.
The minerals could have formed downstream in the watershed fed by Jezero and then washed in the crater, by volcanic activity or later episodes of water saturation in the Ezero lake cut. The rower should be able to isolate the true source, the researchers say.
"We can get amazing high-resolution images and composition data from the orbit, but there is a limit to what we can see in terms of how these minerals form," Tarnas said.
"Given the rover's instruments, however, we should be able to limit the origin of these deposits," the author added.
The rower will be able to perform a fine chemical analysis of the sediments and provide a close-up view of the titles relative to the surrounding rock units.
There will also be a CRISM-like sensor to connect orbital and land data, which will go a long way in determining how deposits are formed.
What's more, a rover instrument is able to search for complex organic material. If silicate deposits had high concentrations of organic products, this would be a particularly intriguing finding, the researchers said.
In addition to the work done by the rover on site, there will also be a cache of samples that will be returned to Earth from future missions.
"If these deposits were presented in the form of rocks large enough and competent enough to excavate, they could be cached. This work suggests that they would be an excellent specimen to have," it was thought. mustard. (ANI)

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