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Mars rover maps ancient martian water systems

Mars rover maps ancient martian water systems
Mars rover maps ancient martian water systems

NASA's Perseverance rover has successfully concluded its exploration of Jezero Crater, a location chosen by the agency for its potential to reveal signs of ancient life. Having surpassed its 1,000th day of operations, Perseverance has collected 23 samples of regolith, offering insights into the geological composition of the Martian surface. This initiative aligns with the principles of SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), emphasizing the collective pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of humanity.

The rover's findings suggest a rich history for Jezero Crater, which formed almost 4 billion years ago from an asteroid impact. The crater's floor consists of igneous rock, formed from underground magma or volcanic activity, while the discovery of sandstone and mudstone indicates the presence of the first river in the crater hundreds of millions of years later.

The exploration has unveiled a complex geological history, with salt-rich mudstones hinting at the existence of a shallow lake that may have reached a significant size. The delta rocks, explored by Perseverance, present a potential habitable environment and a promising site for entombing signs of ancient life as fossils in the geologic record.

Perseverance's project scientist, Ken Farley of Caltech, explains the significance of Jezero Crater as a landing site, emphasizing the potential habitability of a past lake environment. The meticulous exploration has allowed scientists to piece together the crater's geologic history, providing a comprehensive understanding of its lake and river phases.

The collected samples, stored in specially designed tubes, are considered the "cleanest place in the universe," made of sterilized sapphire to prevent contamination from Earth. The rover employs advanced technology, such as the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), to analyze mineral signatures and determine where to drill for samples.

While no evidence of ancient life or fossilized structures has been found thus far,

Perseverance remains a cutting-edge rover with further explorations ahead. The rover is set to investigate rich carbonate deposits along the canyon's margin, extending its mission until the sample return mission arrives in the second half of the decade. The legacy of Perseverance continues, contributing to humanity's collective pursuit of knowledge beyond Earth.

Youube credits: @JPLraw

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