NASA's Perseverance Rover Reveals Hints of 'Potentially Habitable Sustained Environment' on Mars
17:49 GMT 13.09.2021 (Updated: 10:10 GMT 30.11.2022)
The salt minerals apparently present in the rocks the rover had taken samples from may have “trapped tiny bubbles of ancient Martian water” that could “serve as microscopic time capsules, offering clues about the ancient climate and habitability of Mars”.
As NASA’s Perseverance rover managed to successfully collect two rock samples from the surface of Mars, these discoveries may help scientists “piece together the timeline” of the past of the area these samples were collected from, according to a news release posted on NASA’s website.
“It looks like our first rocks reveal a potentially habitable sustained environment,” said Ken Farley of Caltech, project scientist for the mission, adding that the water being present in that area for a “long time” is a “big deal.”
While the samples may essentially allow the team to obtain a “timeline of the most important events” in the history of the Jezero Crater, which supposedly was flooded with water in the ancient past, the release also points out that salts have apparently been spotted in the rocks from which the samples were retrieved.
8 September 2021, 11:01 GMT
The salt minerals in these rock cores may have possibly “trapped tiny bubbles of ancient Martian water” that could “serve as microscopic time capsules, offering clues about the ancient climate and habitability of Mars”, the release notes, adding that salt minerals are “also well-known on Earth for their ability to preserve signs of ancient life”.
“These samples have high value for future laboratory analysis back on Earth,” said Mitch Schulte of NASA Headquarters, the mission’s programme scientist. “One day, we may be able to work out the sequence and timing of the environmental conditions that this rock’s minerals represent. This will help answer the big-picture science question of the history and stability of liquid water on Mars.”