The presence of organic compounds in rocks on Mars has been suggested by NASA’s Perseverance rover. These chemicals, discovered in a location where a lake once existed, could imply that there was life on Mars. They did, however, point out that detection of such molecules is not proof of past or present life on Mars.
“Organics are the molecular building blocks of life as we know it, but they can also be formed by geological processes unrelated to life.” “We see multiple signals that appear to vary across the formations of the crater floor and in the minerals they are associated with,” said astrobiologist Sunanda Sharma of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, lead author of the study published this week in the journal Nature.
Perseverance arrived in Jezero crater in February 2021, an area in the planet’s northern hemisphere that was formerly flooded with water and home to an old lake basin.
Microbial life may have once existed in Jezero crater, according to scientists. They estimate that more than 3.5 billion years ago, river channels spilled over the crater wall and formed a lake.
How did scientists discover organic molecules?
The most recent evidence of life comes from SHERLOC, a sensor attached on the robotic arm of the six-wheeled rover. Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals is abbreviated as SHERLOC.
Using cameras, a laser, and spectrometers, the equipment can map and analyze organic molecules in great detail. A spectrometer examines light wavelengths to look for organic chemicals that could represent evidence of microbial life in the past.
SHERLOC observations from ten locations on two geological formations on the bottom of Jezero crater have been reported by researchers.
The rover has also collected rock samples for possible future study on Earth. SHERLOC is helped by WATSON, a colour camera for obtaining close-up photos of rock grains and surface textures, as a nod to Sherlock Holmes.
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