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In the most recent rock samples, the Mars rover detects signs of past life.

NASA’s Resilience In a potential indication of prehistoric bacteria that researchers are anxious to confirm when the rock samples are eventually brought to Earth, the Mars rover has found its largest amounts of organic compounds to date.

Although organic material has been found on Mars before, the most recent find is viewed as particularly hopeful since it originated from a location where silt and salts were dumped into a lake, creating the ideal conditions for the emergence of life.

David Shuster, a Perseverance return sample scientist, told reporters at a briefing that it is fair to say that they are already the most priceless rock samples that have ever been collected.

Organic molecules, which are mostly composed of carbon but may also occasionally contain hydrogen and oxygen, are not necessarily produced by biological processes.

The Mars Sample Return mission, a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to bring back the rocks, is scheduled for launch in 2033, so more research and conclusions will have to wait.

The Percy rover, so named because it touched down on Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021, was charged with collecting materials that might provide evidence of prehistoric life as well as describing the planet’s geology and historical temperature.

It formed the delta it is currently investigating 3.5 billion years ago. Sedimentary rocks, which formed as a result of particles of various sizes settling in the area’s former aquatic environment, are currently being studied by the rover.

On July 20, Percy abraded portions of the surfaces of a rock named “Wildcat Ridge,” which is roughly three feet (one metre) broad, to allow for the analysis of two core samples using an ultraviolet light-based equipment called SHERLOC.

The findings revealed a group of chemical molecules known as aromatics, which are important in biochemistry.Sunanda Sharma, an astrobiologist with NASA, described the effort as a “treasure hunt” for potential indications of extraterrestrial life.

“A clue that keeps getting stronger and stronger is organic stuff…It seems like we are in the right spot, equipped with the right resources, at a crucial juncture, which is why I find these outcomes so moving personally.”

Other intriguing hints regarding the possibility of life on Mars have also been discovered in the past, such as Curiosity’s predecessor Perseverance’s repeated methane detections.

While methane is a byproduct of digestion produced by bacteria on Earth, it can also be produced by geothermal reactions without the involvement of biology.