Scientists have identified a rock that has the potential to preserve traces of life. explanations.
It’s called mirabilite: This rock found on Mars is made up of crystals that form in extremely salty water. If scientists are interested in it, it is because it is present on Earth, in particular in the Great Salt Lake in Utah in the United States, and therefore on Mars in more or less similar forms, since it is known that the Red Planet once had basins full of salt water.
>> Space: The goal of living on Mars is becoming clearer
This rock is of particular interest to us, above all, because we now know – thanks to a team of American researchers – that it is capable of preserving biosignatures. Chemical indicators that can witness and attest to the emergence of primitive life. And when we talk about primitive life, we are talking about bacterial life.
Studying this rock on Earth has proven that it can contain bacteria, algae or other microorganisms extremiststhat is, bacteria that grow and survive in extreme conditions, conditions that are fatal to most other organisms, such as very high temperatures, up to 100 ° C or infinitely low, in radioactive or salt-saturated environments.
For example, in Australia last year, microorganisms 830 million years old were found trapped in this mineral. Moreover, it is this discovery that made scientists believe that there is a path of study perhaps with the beginning of a solution to these questions that remained unanswered until then: How do you know if Mars has been a place for life and especially where to look?
Wait until 2030
We now have a goal to explore and the Chariot of Perseverance will explore this path. The NASA robot, which landed on Mars last year, will be able to take these samples. He will collect the minerals and put them into tubes and his mission will stop there because he cannot, unfortunately, do the analyses On site. So we’ll have to wait for Mars samples to return to Earth from 2030. But now that we know where to look. We can wait a bit to solve such an important mystery as life on Mars.
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