- Jonathan Amos
- Science Reporter, BBC
“We’re definitely in the right place.”
There is a sense of relief on the scientific team responsible for the perseverance rover (diligence, in Spanish) owned by the US space agency NASA on Mars.
Investigators are now confident that they have sent the vehicle to a location that offers the best chance of finding traces of life. On the red planet.
“Percy,” as the robot affectionately calls it, landed in Jessero Greater in February, and has since been taking thousands of photos of the surrounding area.
The description of these images is the basis of the first science article based on these findings, published in the journal Science this week.
The analysis confirms that the diligence is now resolved At the bottom of a large lake at one time On the surface of Mars, it was fed by a flowing river, which reached the recession in the west. We talked about something that happened 3.5 billion years agoWhen the climate of Mars was very harmless.
From diligent observations, the river, which was connected to the lake, abruptly slowed its flow, forming a delta of suspended sediments and ending a wedge-shaped structure that could be seen in many places. Earth
It was in that context Some microorganisms may have multiplied The remains are still preserved today.
Professor Sanjeev Gupta, co-author of the science essay from Imperial College London, comments: “Some people have told me: ‘What’s so new about this? Well, at least we didn’t go down without explaining ourselves first.
A sediment fan or digestion cone is a geological system in which materials are usually deposited in a high-energy environment such as a fan wave or flood.
Mars microbes, if they had one, would have preferred the still, permanent waters of the delta.
The diligence landed two kilometers from the main delta, but the images taken by its telescope were particularly impressive, especially when scientists located it on an isolated mound named Kodiak.
“Some of the layers that make up the delta that normally grow can be seen in these remains.”
The river has horizontal bottoms with fine granulated sediments thrown into the abyss from its entrance to the lake. Above these, sloping sediments appear on the slope through the most advanced flaps of the delta. Riverine sediments are still high after expanding beyond the edges of the delta.
Except for the formation of the Kodiak and the main delta, there are in Jessaro Lots of big rocks. This indicates that there was a later flood in the history of the valley.
“Something has changed in hydrology. We don’t know if it’s a climate-related phenomenon, we don’t know,” said Professor Gupta. “To move such large rocks, you may need something like a flood. Perhaps there were glacial lakes in the local bed that sent these streams towards Jessore.”
“On Earth, we see the lake overflowing in places like the Himalayas. In the Ganges bed, these large rocks are mixed with ordinary river sand, which is where the flash floods from the glacier lake,” Gupta told the BBC News.
The scientific team of diligence will send you to the foundation of the main delta formation to drill into the ground in search of the small clay stones that are expected to be found. They will also focus on the ring of limestone rocks on the edge of Jessero The ditch marks the shore of the lake In its deepest age.
The robot is in the process of collecting and storing two dozen rock specimens from various locations. These models will be brought from here Returned to Earth in the early 2030s The face of Mars should occasionally be examined in laboratories to detect the presence of microscopic life forms.
Plans for this are highly advanced and include sending another robot from NASA and its partners from the European Space Agency.
It will be a British made vehicle. It will collect the rocks and turn them into a rocket that will orbit a point on Mars where a satellite is waiting, which will eventually carry it to Earth.
“We are about to enter the most exciting time to explore Mars.”Says Sue Horn, head of space research at the UK Space Agency.
“The dream of exploring models from the red planet will soon come true as the propulsion system of the model vehicle will be tested next month.”
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