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NASA Perseverance Rover: What's Up on Mars?

Updated: Aug 3

The Perseverance Rover discovered rocks on Mars that had been shaped by water. The Perseverance rover, operated by NASA, is the first spacecraft in recent memory to transport new plutonium from the United States. This is not going to be the final instance.

The NASA Perseverance rover began examining the rocks from Mars that have the potential to hold traces of life. The water which flowed over through the Red Planet during its time as a water planet changed the ancient samples somehow. They have been put away by the robot, and it is getting ready to send them back to Earth.

The discoveries have been presented in a research that was published in the scientific journal Science Advances and titled "Aqueously altered igneous rocks on the bottom of Jezero crater, Mars."

Perseverance rover snapped this picture while looking at Ingenuity helicopter.

Perseverance rover snapped this picture while looking at Ingenuity helicopter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

According to Professor Amy Williams of Florida State University who co-authored a recent paper on the discoveries and commented on them, there are species on Earth that live in rocks that are quite similar to the ones discovered by Perseverance. In addition to this, the transformation of the minerals by the water has the capability of recording biosignatures.

It is the initial step toward solving the question of whether or not life ever existed on Mars. The boulders originated near the base of the Jezero crater, which was formerly the site of a massive river delta that discharged into a lake.

It is possible that life existed on Mars billions of years ago when the planet was covered in water. At one time, water covered almost the whole surface of Mars. Canyons have been carved out of the rock by roaring rivers that are even more powerful than the Nile. The depth of Valles Mariner is six miles, and its width is one hundred fifty kilometers. If it were located on Earth, it would be the longest canyon in all of the solar system since it would run from New York to Los Angeles.

According to Williams, the sorts of settings that exist on Earth are locations where life may flourish. The Jezero delta & crater are being investigated in order to search for rocks in these once habitable areas that may have preserved signs of life from the distant past.

Artists illustration of Mars sample return mission.

Artists illustration of Mars sample return mission. (Image credit: NASA)

Williams, who is an astrobiologist, is among the long-term planners for mission and contributes to the decision-making process about where to deploy the rover and which experiments and samples should take precedence.

The Perseverance is outfitted with a drill that can gather probable evidence of ancient bacteria by boring into the mud. As part of the Mars sampling mission, the rover is now conducting a reconnaissance of the river delta in order to gather further samples.

In February of 2021, the Perseverance spacecraft successfully landed near the base of the Jezero crater under the direction of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since that time, scientists have used a suite of technologies that are on board the rover to investigate the geological composition of the crater floor. These tools are able to take images of rocks, analyze the chemical content of the materials, and study the structure of rocks deep below the surface.

The crew from the United States found that the crater bottom had degraded more than they had anticipated during their investigation. Because of erosion, a crater was uncovered that was composed of igneous rocks, which are rocks that were produced from lava and magma.

At first, the researchers thought that sedimentary rocks from lakes or deltas would sit atop these igneous rocks. There is a good chance that the more fragile sedimentary rocks were eroded away over the course of eons, leaving behind the more durable igneous rocks. The rocks that the scientists investigated and preserved in preparation for their return to the Earth have been changed by water, which is more proof that Mars once had a wet history.

Around the year 2033, NASA as well as the European Space Agency will execute their plan to bring the rock samples back to Earth. The ambitious plan calls for the construction of the initial vehicle that is capable of taking off from the Mars surface and making a successful rendezvous with just an orbiter that transports the samples to Earth.

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The very in-depth analyses of the rock samples, which the rover simply is not capable of doing, will be the reward for completing such a tremendous mission. These investigations include determining the period of the rocks or searching for indications of life that existed in the past.

Dating such rocks will offer critical data about the age of the lake. The rock samples that were obtained near the bottom of crater are presumably older than the river delta. Williams continued by saying, "I am enthusiastic about what is going to take place after this."

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