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Studies suggest that NASA’s Mars 2020 mission site may contain signs of old life

The location where NASA intends to land its rover on Mars may contain signs of ancient microbial life.

Scientists are going to investigate the Jezero crater in the Mars 2020 mission, which 3.5 billion years ago housed a lake and was littered with carbonates and hydrated silica.

Carbonates in the inner rim of the crater were found to survive for billions of years in fossils on Earth and hydrated silica was discovered in the delta known for its ability to preserve biosignatures.

The Mars 2020 mission will focus solely on astrobiology, or “the study of life in the universe,” NASA said in a statement.

The American space agency is deploying a new set of scientific instruments at the 2020 rover that build on the discoveries of Curiosity, which have found indications that life once flourished on the Red Planet.

The future mission is to look for actual signs of microbial life in the past and will collect rock core samples in metal tubes that will find their way back to Earth for further study.

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The stunning images of the old lake of the multicolored crater of Jezero where the hydrated silicon was found came from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which regularly makes images of potential landing sites for future missions. Depicted are the remains of the 3.5 billion-year-old lake that flowed through the crater

The stunning images of the old lake of the multicolored crater of Jezero where the hydrated silicon was found came from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which regularly makes images of potential landing sites for future missions. Depicted are the remains of the 3.5 billion-year-old lake that flowed through the crater

The stunning images of the old lake of the multicolored crater of Jezero where the hydrated silicon was found came from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which regularly makes images of potential landing sites for future missions.

Jesse Tarnas, a Ph.D. student at Brown University and lead author of the study, said: “Using a technology we developed to help us find rare, hard-to-detect mineral phases in data from spacecraft orbiting the Earth, we have two disclosures of hydrated silica found in the Jezero crater. “

“We know from the earth that this mineral phase is exceptional in the conservation of microfossils and other biosignatures, so that makes these disclosures exciting goals for the rover to explore.”

NASA revealed that it sent its Mars 2020 rover to Jezero last year, which is the site of an ancient lake, and the two discoveries have given these experts hope that they could discover certain signs of life.

The location where NASA plans to land its rover on Mars contains elements that may contain signs of old microbial life. Scientists are going to investigate the Jezero crater in the Mars 2020 mission, which once was a lake 3.5 billion years ago and is covered with hydrated silica and carbonates

The location where NASA plans to land its rover on Mars contains elements that may contain signs of old microbial life. Scientists are going to investigate the Jezero crater in the Mars 2020 mission, which once was a lake 3.5 billion years ago and is strewn with hydrated silica and carbonates

The location where NASA plans to land its rover on Mars contains elements that may contain signs of old microbial life. Scientists are going to investigate the Jezero crater in the Mars 2020 mission, which once was a lake 3.5 billion years ago and is covered with hydrated silica and carbonates

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument or CRISM from the orbiter helped create colorful mineral maps of the 'badring', where scientists saw carbonates

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument or CRISM from the orbiter helped create colorful mineral maps of the 'badring', where scientists saw carbonates

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument or CRISM from the orbiter helped create colorful mineral maps of the ‘badring’, where scientists saw carbonates

The newspaper’s lead author, Briony Horgan of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, said, “CRISM saw carbonates here years ago, but we only recently noticed how concentrated they are exactly where a lake shore would be.” “We will encounter carbonate deposits at many locations during the mission, but the bath ring will be one of the most exciting places to visit”

The researchers have suggested that the delta could have an abundance of material from a huge catchment area

Deltas on earth are known to be good at preserving signs of life and adding hydrated silica to the mixture increases that conservation potential, the researchers said.

While investigating the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images, the team saw one of the silicon deposits on the edge of the delta at low altitude.

It is possible that the minerals are formed in place and represent the bottom layer of the delta deposit, which is a great scenario for maintaining signs of life.

The rover will be able to conduct chemical analyzes of the deposits on a small scale and to provide a detailed picture of how the deposits are located with respect to surrounding rock units.

Deltas on earth are known to be good at preserving signs of life, and adding hydrated silica to the mix increases that conservation potential, the researchers said. While examining the images, the team saw one of the silicon deposits on the edge of the delta (photo) at low altitude

Deltas on earth are known to be good at preserving signs of life, and adding hydrated silica to the mix increases that conservation potential, the researchers said. While examining the images, the team saw one of the silicon deposits on the edge of the delta (photo) at low altitude

Deltas on earth are known to be good at preserving signs of life, and adding hydrated silica to the mix increases that conservation potential, the researchers said. While examining the images, the team saw one of the silicon deposits on the edge of the delta (photo) at low altitude

An animated crossover of the Mars surface explains why the Jezero crater of Mars, a 28-mile-wide old multi-delta system, is the best place for the Mars 2020 rover to find and collect promising monsters for a possible future return to the soil

An animated crossover of the Mars surface explains why the Jezero crater of Mars, a 28-mile-wide old multi-delta system, is the best place for the Mars 2020 rover to find and collect promising monsters for a possible future return to the soil

An animated crossover of the Mars surface explains why the Jezero crater of Mars, a 28-mile-wide old multi-delta system, is the best place for the Mars 2020 rover to find and collect promising monsters for a possible future return to the soil

It will also have a sensor similar to CRISM to link orbital and lander data.

That will go a long way to determine how the deposits were formed.

In addition, an instrument can board the rover in search of complex organic material. If the silicon deposits contained high concentrations of organic substances, this would be a particularly intriguing find, the researchers said.

“If these deposits present themselves in the form of rocks that are large and competent enough to drill in, they can be cached,” Mustard said.

“This work suggests that they would be a great example.”

Not only will the robber look for signs of old life, the team will use this mission to study carbonates to learn how Mars has moved from liquid water and a thicker atmosphere to the ice-cold desert that it is today.

The landing site of Jezero Crater is different because of the abundant carbonate rocks and what they can hopefully reveal about early habitability on Mars

The landing site of Jezero Crater is different because of the abundant carbonate rocks and what they can hopefully reveal about early habitability on Mars

The landing site of Jezero Crater is different because of the abundant carbonate rocks and what they can hopefully reveal about early habitability on Mars

The Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument or CRISM from the orbiter helped create colorful mineral maps of the ‘badring’, where scientists saw carbonates.

Carbonate minerals formed by interactions between carbon dioxide and water, with subtle changes in these interactions being recorded over time.

In that sense, they act as time capsules that scientists can study to learn when – and how – the Red Planet began to dry out.

The newspaper’s lead author, Briony Horgan of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, said, “CRISM saw carbonates here years ago, but we only recently noticed how concentrated they are exactly where a lake shore would be.”

“We will encounter carbonate deposits at many locations during the mission, but the bath ring will be one of the most exciting places to visit.”

The Mars 2020 team expects to explore both the crater floor and the delta during the rover’s two-year prime mission.

WHAT DO WE KNOW OF NASA’S MARS 2020 ROVER?

Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover searches for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved.

The machine will explore an old river delta in the Jezero crater, which was once filled with a lake of 500 feet (500 meters) deep.

It is believed that the region organized microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) will look for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved

Nasa's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) will look for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved

Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) will look for signs of old life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life on our own planet evolved

The $ 2.5 billion (£ 1.95 billion) Mars 2020 is scheduled for launch in July 2020 and lands in February 2021.

Mars 2020 is designed to land in the crater and collect samples that are ultimately sent back to Earth for further analysis.

NASA says a second mission will have to fly to the planet and return the monsters, perhaps by the 2020s.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's sky-crane system

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's sky-crane system

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s sky-crane system

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