SPACE TECHNOLOGY NEWS
NASA Rover Discovers Ancient Organic Molecules on Mars
Evidence of organic molecules has been found in Mars’ Jezero Crater by analyzing NASA’s Perseverance rover data.
While it does not confirm past life on Mars, it indicates the presence of conditions that could have supported life. The main objective of Perseverance is to investigate the potential for ancient life on Mars.
Researchers discovered evidence of organic molecules in all 10 regions using Perseverance’s SHERLOC instrument (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals).
Perseverance has been exploring the western part of the crater since its landing in February 2021 and gathering rock samples for a return to Earth in the 2030s.
The rover’s cameras, particularly SHERLOC, provide valuable insights into the Martian terrain and enable detailed chemical analysis of rocks.
Previous missions have also detected organic material on Mars, pointing to a rich history of organic compounds and the potential to harbor life.
Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy are used by the SHERLOC instrument to analyze the molecular makeup and distribution of minerals in Martian rocks.
If life existed in the Jezero Crater, it most likely flourished in a river delta on the western rim of the crater, similar to the 3.5-billion-year-old stromatolite formations on Earth.
While the exact age of the discovered organic molecules remains uncertain, their association with minerals altered by water billions of years ago indicates complex geochemical processes on Mars.
Further analysis and confirmation will require the return of samples to Earth. Until then, the presence of organic molecules fuels hope for the discovery of ancient Martian life.