Why the discovery of organic molecules on Mars could be the result of life

The path taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover since landing in Jezero Crater on the Martian surface (NASA/Reuters)

Various inventions Organic molecules in a ditch tuesday suggests that Red planet may have had a more active past than previously believed, and may have significant implications for exploration Extraterrestrial life.

Meaning Discovered by NASA’s Perseverance rover in Jezero Crater on MarsThe scientists said in a study published Wednesday Nature and coordinated by California Institute of Technology.

Organic molecules are mainly formed Carbonand often includes other elements such as Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, match And Sulphur. They make a wonderful trail Astrophysicists Because life as we know it is based on organic molecules. Identifying, characterizing and learning about them tuesday According to experts, it is important to have a good understanding of what is a clue to life and what is not.

“Probable Detection of Multiple Species Organic carbon Mars has influences Understanding the Carbon Cycle On Mars, and A planet’s ability to support life Throughout its history,” he said. Amy Williams, One of the study’s signatories and the University of Florida.

An image of the diligently studied area traveled along the path marked in white. The graph shows the average number of detections when scanning with Sherlock. Below, images of the targets scanned in the studio. (Sharma et al. 2023/Nature)

Authors of the study It cannot be ruled out that substances are of “biological” originThey should say that Effect of life on the planet. But they may have been created by events GeographySuch as interactions between water and dust or being thrown onto a planet Dust One Meteorites.

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Research results suggest that the Martian surface may have a diversity of organic molecules. Survives exposure to intense radiation.

They are often found within minerals Water processes, indicating that these processes may have played an important role in the synthesis, transport, or storage of organic compounds in Mars’ past. In his groove jezeroPlace of discovery About 3.7 billion years ago There would have been a lake, is an auspicious place to see signs of past lives. The site has a high probability of being inhabited in the past due to the presence of various minerals including Carbonates, Clay And Sulfates Organic materials and possible biological traces can be preserved.

A remnant of a fan-shaped sedimentary deposit known as a delta in Jezero Crater on Mars is seen in this Preservation photo (NASA/JPL-CALTECH/ASU/MSSS).

“We did not initially expect to find these potential organic signatures at the Jesero Crater site, but their diversity and distribution in different crater floor units now suggests different fates of carbon in this environment,” Williams said.

“The findings represent an important step and lay the groundwork for our study of the Red Planet Future research into the possibility of life beyond Earth”, the scientist added.

Persistence on the surface of the Jezero Crater (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Manual via REUTERS)

The survey data was collected through the tool from September 2021 onwards Sherlock (Scanning the Habitable Environment by Raman and Luminescence Organics and Chemicals) Persistence. The rover is designed for in-situ science, with the ability to collect a collection of samples for return to Earth. More importantly, it has very useful tools for searching life. Sherlock It is the first instrument capable of operating on Mars Description And Microscopic analysis of organic molecules.

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The researchers paid particular attention to the Sherlock data obtained in this Mass And seítah, two rock formations located at the bottom of the crater. There, Sherlock finds evidence of various types of organic molecules. The researchers’ modeling suggests that these compounds may exist Formed from many minerals and mechanisms of formation, and these are often associated with water minerals.

Scientists have discovered References of organic molecules in 10 targets mass and perseveration drilled in CheitaCovering a time span of at least 2.3 to 2.6 billion years.

This image shows the rocky target “Garde” analyzed by the Perseverance Sherlock instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LANL/PhotonSys)

There may have been building blocks for life” for a long timeAlong with other as-yet-undiscovered chemical species, the study states, “these two paleodepositional environments may inhabit the Jezero Crater.”

Scientists have not been able to identify specific organic molecules. To confirm their specific types, it is necessary to bring samples back to Earth, which is the main objective of future work. Model return to Mars.

“A on Mars Earth-like early geological history“So we use our knowledge of life on Earth to know where to look for possible evidence of past life on Mars,” he said. Ashley E Murphyresearcher at the Planetary Science Institute and co-author of the paper Nature. “Mapping organics allows us to better understand whether the Martian carbon cycle is similar or different to Earth’s, and whether it has the potential to support Martian life.”

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Eden Hayes

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