Researchers functioning with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover have found the best places to seek for signs of ancient life on Mars. They say Jezero Crater is one of the best places for the experiment. It is a location where the rover will land on February 18, 2021. Jezero Crater is a 28-mile-wide hole in the ground that NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will explore. It has a rich deposit of minerals that are good at maintaining microfossils on Earth; two latest trials have discovered. Research published in the journal Icarus, reveals deposits of minerals – carbonates along the inner rim of Jezero Crater. It is a region where a lake was present more than 3.5 billion years ago.
While on Earth, carbonates assist in building structures that are tough enough to survive in fossilized form for billions of years, including seashells and corals. Even more, carbonates offer rigidity to stromatolites. Those are the rocks formed on Earth due to ancient microbial life along ancient shorelines, where there was plenty of sunlight and water. Thus, scientists claim that probably stromatolites-like structures exist on Mars. NASA’s MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter) has spotted the carbonates with its CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) equipment. CRISM is a toll that has a specialty to discover minerals related to water.
Study’s leading author, Briony Horgan, from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, said CRISM has located carbonates here years ago. But only recently they have observed deposition of carbonates near the lakeshore. She noted they are going to come across carbonate deposits in various regions throughout the mission. Jack Mustard, is a professor of Earth, environmental and planetary services at Brown is a co-author of the study. He said the material that forms the base layer of a delta is sometimes the most dynamic by means of conserving bio-signatures. As per Jack, if they can find the bottom-set layer, it will be the best. Even more, it will be great if they get a lot of silica there.
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