The Perseverance rover has detected possible evidence for organic compounds on Mars while exploring an ancient Lakebed.
Mars continues to reveal its secrets to us. The more we explore the red planet, the more we are left perplexed by its ancient similarity to Earth. Now, NASA’s latest rover has found further evidence that suggests Mars was once very similar to Earth. According to a statement by Imperial College London, rock samples collected from the Jezero crater by Perseverance show evidence of liquid water and signatures that could be organic in nature. The research paper, published in the journal Science offers tantalizing evidence obtained after analyzing multiple rocks collected at the bottom of Jezero Crater. It was precisely here where NASA’s latest rover touched down on Mars back in 2020. The samples the rover collected show significant interaction between Martian rocks and liquid water. What’s more, the rocks seem to contain evidence that researchers say is very consistent with the presence of organic compounds.
Organic compounds on Mars
It means that Mars was very much like our planet. This was billions of years ago. And scientists now have more evidence to support theories that the red planet had vast oceans. Not only that, but Mars was home to lakes, river systems, and an atmosphere that likely supported life as we know it. Nonetheless, it is important to mention that the mere existence of organic compounds on Mars is not definitive proof of life. In fact, these compounds can be produced through processes that are not biological. To find out whether these are indicative of life or not, we need to analyze the samples on Earth. and a future return mission that can deliver the samples is of great priority to NASA.
The Jezero crater is of great importance to scientists. This is because they believe that in the very distant past, this was, in fact, a vast lake on Mars. If life ever did develop on its surface, it is likely that what is left embedded, deep within the lakebed, could help us solve the mystery. Scientists have also been very interested in the Jezero delta. They say that such formation cal also preserves evidence of ancient microorganisms. This is because deltas are formed when a river transports fine-grained sentiments and enters into a deeper, slow-moving body of water. As the river spreads, it slows down and deposits sediments it carries along the way. This way, if life ever existed on Mars, it is likely that traces of it would be preserved there.