The rover robot Perseverance, which landed on Mars in February, revealed its first scientific results, boosting scientists’ interest in searching for traces of past life at its landing site, a crater that housed a lake three billion years ago.
The French-American “SuperCam” camera installed on the mast of the US space agency “NASA” robot was able to monitor the environment of Jezero crater, a location chosen based on satellite data.
According to the agency, “French”, the first images taken by the camera in high resolution confirmed the indications given by the satellite data. The crater, which extends over 35 kilometers in diameter, already contained a closed lake that was previously fed by a river through the delta, between 3 and 3.6 billion years ago.
The study, published in the journal “Science”, the first since the landing of “Perseverence”, gives a series of new details about this site, which included a lake the size of Lake Leman in Geneva, Switzerland.
“Supercam”, a highly advanced camera installed in France, allowed the monitoring of sedimentary layers that are fertile ground to “find traces of previous life,” according to what the French National Institute for Scientific Research explained during a press conference, in which he presented the results of this study, which was supervised by one of the researchers. Researchers in it Nicola Mangold.
These layers, which form a plateau about 40 meters high, called Kodiak, are a metaphor for “fine deposits of clay or sand in which organic matter is easy to preserve,” according to what this planetary geologist explained in the Laboratory of Planetary Science and Geodynamics.
However, caution is necessary in approaching the results, as this organic matter may also come from “hard carbon materials” such as comet deposits.
Organic matter from living organisms is made up of a mixture of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and, to a lesser extent, oxygen molecules, says Sylvester Morris of the Research Institute for Astrophysics and Planetary Science at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse.
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