The Perseverance rover, which is exploring Mars’ Lake Crater, may well have found traces of ancient life. According to Forbes, he was able to collect rock samples, some of which have undergone chemical changes due to the influence of water.
So far, the rover has collected 12 rock samples from the crater. Scientists believe that a lake existed here billions of years ago. And it is precisely such collected samples that will help to understand whether life existed on Mars.
Whether there are traces of ancient life in the rocks, it will be possible to understand only in 2033. After all, it was then that rock samples would be delivered from Mars to Earth as part of a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency called Mars Sample Return. It is noted that spacecraft to deliver samples to our planet will be launched to the Red Planet in 2027.
According to Amy Williams from Florida State University, the found rocks were changed by water. Because of this, iron oxides, carbonates, and salts were formed in them. It was this composition that microorganisms could use for life if they existed on the Red Planet. In addition, new Perseverance data show that the floor of Lake Jezero is subject to much more erosion than previously thought. At its bottom there are sedimentary rocks and exposed volcanic rocks.
Scientists believe that such volcanic rocks, which the rover explored in the Maaz and Seitah regions, were formed much earlier than the appearance of the river delta, in the process of volcanic activity on Mars.
Amy Williams adds that water-altered rocks may show signs of ancient microbial life. Or it still exists. For example, on Earth there are microorganisms that survive in such conditions. Researchers believe that water on Mars existed for tens of millions of years, and began to disappear between 3.8 and 3.5 billion years ago. But the exact time of its disappearance can only be understood after examining rock samples.