Recent rover photos turn out to be key in finding evidence of past life on the red planet. “One of the biggest riddles has been solved,” jubilantly NASA.
Washington – In February 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover * touched down in Jezero Crater. Scientists suspected a dry lake here. The new high-resolution images of the rover now reveal how the fan-shaped river delta that could have fed the lake was created. Striking similarities between the cliffs of the delta and patterns in the Earth’s river deltas suggest that Mars was “warm and humid enough to support a water cycle about 3.7 billion years ago,” according to NASA astrobiologist Amy Williams in one in the specialist journal Science published study.
Life on Mars: “One of the most profound discoveries of mankind”
The researchers are now planning to take samples from the lower sediment layers. Because here there would be a high probability of encountering long-extinct life on Mars, should it have existed. Learning that Mars could once have been home to life would be one of the most profound discoveries humanity has ever made, Williams said.
“The rover has solved one of the biggest puzzles,” says a delighted planetologist Benjamin Weiss. “Until we landed there, it was always a question: Was the crater once a lake?” The images also show that there must have been heavy flooding there. According to the researchers in their study, these floods would have washed large stones into the lake, where they are still located today.
Life on Mars: Definitive Evidence Possible in the 2030s
Searching for traces of life is the main task of the rover, which is supposed to collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed, pencil-thick tubes *. In the 2030s, they will be sent back to Earth for analysis – and may provide ultimate evidence of life on the Earth-like planet. * Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA