NASA’s Perseverance rover discovers organic chemicals on Mars; marks another history of Mars

NASA’s Perseverence rover mission scientists discovered building blocks of life on the Red Planet. Based on the examination of the Martian rocks, rocks on the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet have interacted with water multiple times over the eons, and that some contain organic molecules.

Perseverance was able to identify carbon-containing organic chemicals in some rocks from the Jezero Crater on Mars, NASA announced on December 15.

The team tweeted, “Got another one! My latest rock core is from this target we are calling “Robine.” Still, some processing to do to get this one capped and sealed, but so far so good for another round of #SamplingMars”.

The Organic compounds were discovered from 45 kilometers from Jezero, which hosted a big lake and a river delta in the ancient past, using the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument.

The Perseverance rover which started its journey on Mars has two main goals: firstly, to search for signs of ancient life on Mars and secondly, to send these materials back to Earth to be studied by scientists.

Scientists with the Perseverance mission have recently discovered that the bedrock their six-wheeled explorer has been driving on since landing in February likely formed from red-hot magma. Four out of 43 perseverance sample tubes have been filled with rock cores and one with the Martian atmosphere. Mars Sample Return seeks to bring select tubes back to Earth. During the return mission, the rover would transfer samples to a lander being developed at JPL that would use a robotic arm (developed by ESA) to pack the samples into a small rocket, called a Mars Ascent Vehicle.

The team concluded that rocks in the crater have interacted with water multiple times over the eons and that some contain organic molecules. Scientists have said that the samples, when returned to Earth, will give them an insight into the ancient history of the crater, which is believed to be home to a once ancient lake.

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However, in a statement the scientist said finding of organics “is not a confirmation that life once existed in Jezero and left telltale signs (biosignatures). There are both biological and non-biological mechanisms that create organics”. The findings by experts were presented at the recently-held American Geophysical Union fall science meeting in New Orleans.