The Perseverance Rover, which arrived on Mars in February, provided the first high-resolution images of the red planet’s ground that it took. Supercamera, located on the mast of the NASA robot, and the findings reinforce the signs of life at the landing site.
Sent by satellite, they confirmed what was observed from orbit: signals in the crater the lake It indicates that about 3.6 billion years ago there was a closed lake fed by a river.
The study published in Science, the first since the Perseverance landing, provides many details about the history of the crater, which is about 35 kilometers in diameter.
The Supercam made it possible to identify layers of sediment that are “a great candidate for finding signs of past life,” the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) explained.
Coming from a 40-meter-high hill called Kodiak, these layers, as astrogeologist Nicholas explained, are “deposits of clay or sand, where organic matter is easy to preserve.” Mangold, one of the authors of the study.
According to Sylvester Morris, of the Paul Sabatier University Institute for Astrophysics and Planetary Research in Toulouse, the images indicate the presence of deep organic matter in the soil and in sediment deposits in the river delta.
Living organisms produce this type of substance: a mixture of complex molecules of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and some oxygen.
This confirms astrobiology’s interest in the Jezero crater [ciência que estuda a vida no universo]”It simply came to our notice then.
Persistence also revealed the unexpected presence of large stones and pebbles, indicating the presence of strong river currents in the past.
According to the study, the end of the crater period will be associated with greater climate change.
“What kind of climate did this change generate? Desertification or glaciation? That’s what we’re investigating, ”Mangold said.
All these observations, made by the probe at a distance of more than two kilometers from the geological formations studied, will now allow the team to focus on collecting samples, which will have to be brought to Earth in 2030 to examine. the.
Two more robots, Curiosity and Insight, are currently exploring other points on Mars.
In September 2022, the Russian-European ExoMars mission is expected to send a robot to Mars designed to drill the earth from the red planet more than a meter deep, an unprecedented feat.