Jezero Crater - One of the Most Possible Placesfor the future landing of the new NASA rover. According to the phys.org portal, it was in this Martian crater that scientists were able to discover a mineral that could theoretically preserve signs of life on Mars in its distant past. Due to the fact that the Jezero region is considered to be the place where the delta of the ancient river was once located, scientists hope to find ancient micro-fossils of potential Martian life there. Are there any chances to discover life on Mars, and if so, how can the detection of hydrated silica on the surface of the planet help this?
Could life on Mars exist in the past?
Hydrated silica is a mineral consideredbest for finding fossils due to its unique qualities while preserving biosignatures. Jesse Tarnas, a graduate student at Brown University, developed a unique technique for finding this mineral, which allowed him to find traces on Mars in the Jesero Crater. The main attraction of this area is a large delta deposit formed by the confluence of ancient rivers that once fed the Martian lake. As you know, the river deltas on Earth retain a huge amount of biological material, which could indicate similar processes that once took place on the Red Planet.
See also: Curiosity recorded an increase in oxygen concentration on Mars
As mentioned above, one of the depositsMartian silica was found in the Jesero Crater, located on the very edge of the delta at a relatively low altitude. Researchers believe that the material forming the lower layer of the delta may be the most productive for preserving traces of ancient bacteria. The presence of silica in it can be a double bonus for scientists engaged in the search for alien life.
For the study, scientists useddata from the Mars compact reconnaissance spectrometer (CRISM), which flies aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The method applied to CRISM data used big data analysis to identify a weak spectral signature of silica deposits.
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Despite the fact that researchers are fullwith great hopes of discovering the first signs of life on the Red Planet precisely in the delta of an ancient river rich in minerals, there is a risk that silica could form upstream in the watershed, being subsequently washed away by volcanic activity in the crater. In order for scientists to be able to identify its real source, the future Mars rover has yet to explore this unique area.