Nasa Perseverance rover discovers ‘alien matter’ suggesting evidence of life in the Jezero crater on Mars
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Nasa has revealed in a new study that its Perseverance rover has discovered matter that could suggest evidence of life in the Jezero crater on Mars.Researchers on the study said that the findings suggest a more complex form of existence on the planet than previously thought.
The study has suggested that there are a number of different explanations for the origins of organic matter on the planet. The origins include water and rock interactions and deposits by interplanetary dust or meteors. The possibility of life being derived from living organisms has not been discounted.
The authors of the study said: “Our findings suggest there may be a diversity of aromatic molecules prevalent on the Martian surface, and these materials persist despite exposure to surface conditions. These potential organic molecules are largely found within minerals linked to aqueous processes, indicating that these processes may have had a key role in organic synthesis, transport or preservation.”
The study states that understanding more about the alien matter could shed light on what carbon sources are available on Mars implying there is a search for potential signs of life.
The researchers have suggested that the diversity provides insight into different ways that organic matter may have originated potentially through water changing from a gas to a solid without becoming a liquid in between, or in combination with volcanic materials.
In February 2021, Perseverance landed within the Jezero crater, the site of an ancient lake basin with high potential for past habitability. The craft is equipped with The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument. SHERLOC is the first tool of its kind and allows mapping and analysing of Martian molecules, and since it landed on Mars scientists have been exploring the geological make-up of the crater floor.
This is not the first time organic matter has been found on Mars. In 2022, Nasa’s Curiosity rover found rocks that contained organic carbon, possibly from bugs that once roamed Mars.