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Perseverance celebrates 1000 days on Mars

Perseverance landed on Mars in February 2021. During the research, which lasted 1000 days, he collected 23 samples from different geological areas of the Lake crater. An ancient lake once existed in this area, and if evidence of ancient (fossilized) life can be found anywhere on Mars, it’s here.

An Atlas V-541 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 30, 2020, carries the Perseverance rover toward Mars. It successfully reached the Red Planet approximately 7 months later.

“Percy’s” primary purpose on Mars was to study geology, climate and atmospheric conditions as a precursor to human exploration. The landing site, Crater Lake, was chosen due to evidence of the existence of an ancient lake in the area, revealed by previous orbital surveys. Since water is considered an important component in the evolution of life, its presence increased the likelihood of life evolving, and rocks may have preserved traces of ancient life and environmental conditions.

Crater Lake, like many other craters in the Solar System, was formed by an asteroid impact approximately 4 billion years ago. The research revealed that the floor consists of magmatic rocks formed from a large underground magma center and coming to the surface with volcanic activity. Later, other types of sand and mud rocks were discovered, indicating the presence of water in Mars’ distant past.

1,000th anniversary of the research. On the anniversary, Perseverance collected rock samples, packaged them for future collection, and generally completed the exploration of the ancient lake bed. One sample in particular, called “Lefroy Bay,” contains fine-grained silica, a material known to preserve fossils on Earth. Another example involves phosphate, which is associated with biological processes. Both contain carbon, which will help study environmental conditions during rock formation.

Since Crater Lake is 45 kilometers in diameter, selecting sampling sites was not easy. After identifying the target location, Perseverance first used an abrasive tool to etch the surface, followed by onboard tools such as PIXL and an X-ray lithochemistry tool. The devices can detect microscopic structures that resemble fossils and even chemical changes left by ancient microbes.

Despite the stunning results of “Perseverance,” it failed to clearly detect signs of life on ancient Mars.

Source: Port Altele



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