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NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover begins looking for signs of past life

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has begun to look for evidence of ancient microbial life.

Spacecraft that landed on Red Planet In February, we tested a series of equipment on a 7-foot robotic arm.

With Monday releaseNASA said Perseverance has begun exploring Martian rocks and sediments, testing detectors and obtaining the first scientific measurements.

Rover uses X-rays and UV light to examine rocks, in addition to a “close-up” zoom on the surface.

Agency, patience PIXL (Planetary Instruments for X-ray lithochemistry) – X-ray equipment – ​​was already “unexpectedly” during testing, including determining the composition of Martian dust adhering to a small calibration target with patience. Showed “strong scientific results”

Abigail Allwood, Principal Researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory PIXL, said:

This handout, provided by NASA, was returned by Hazcams underneath NASA's Perseverance Mars rover after landing in an area known as the Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021. This is the first high-resolution color image.
Below NASA’s Perseviation Mars probe after landing in an area known as the Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
NASA via Getty Images

Patience remains in the area around the Jezero Crater, NASA’s first landing site and a billion-year-old crater lake.

Working in Sherlock NASA scientists have used UV lasers to map mineralogy and organic compounds to a spectrometer (a scan of the habitable environment with Raman and luminescence of organic and chemical substances) and its WATSON (wide angle for operation and engineering). Terrain sensor) A musical instrument that combines a camera and three mineral maps.

According to NASA, early images of WATSON already provide data from Martian rocks, including information about color, particle size, and the presence of “cement” between particles.

Eventually, Perseverance Rover collects and caches rocks and regoliths, ESA (European Space Agency)..

One of the six wheels on NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover, taken by one of the Perseverance color hazard cameras (Hazcams) after landing in an area known as the Jezero Crater.
One of the six wheels on NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover, taken by one of the Perseverance color hazard cameras (Hazcams) after landing in an area known as the Jezero Crater.
NASA via Getty Images

However, previously discovered geological insights are important for understanding the history of the crater and “putting possible signs of life in context.”

“In my view, Mars 2020 is the best opportunity we have in our lives to tackle that problem,” said Kenneth Willifford, Deputy Project Scientist at Perseverance.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover begins looking for signs of past life

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