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Toutes ces observations, que le rover a réussi à faire en se tenant à plus de 2 km de distance des formations géologiques étudiées, vont désormais permettre d

Diligence ensures the relevance of the search for life

The study, published in the journal Science – after the landing of diligence – provides unpublished information on the history of the ancient lake site comparable to the size of Lake Geneva.

The rover of perseverance, which landed on Mars in February, presented the first scientific results on Thursday, confirming the interest in searching for traces of ancient life on its landing site, which ran a lake 3 billion years ago. The site selected based on the supercomputer satellite imagery of the Franco-American instrument located on the mast of NASA’s robot was able to see the environment of the Xero galaxy from the ground of the red planet. Its first high-resolution images confirm traces of observation in orbit: the crater, with a surface about 35 km in diameter, sheltered a closed lake, previously fed by a river through the delta, between 3.6 and 3 billion years ago.

The study, published in the journal Science – after the landing of diligence – provides unpublished information on the history of the ancient lake site comparable to the size of Lake Geneva. Supercam – a sophisticated camera built in France – was able to identify layers of sediment.Very good candidates to find traces of past life”, CNRS explained during a presentation to the press of the results of a study conducted by one of its researchers, Nicholas Mangold.

These layers formed at the foot of a forty meter high mountain called Kodiak, “Clay or sand deposits are easy to protect from organic matter», Says this planetary geologist at the Laboratory of Geology and Earth Kinetics. But be careful not to take it too quickly, he warned, because even this organic substance can come from “Inert carbonaceous material“, As placed by comets.

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Organic matter

Organic matter produced by organisms is made up of complex molecular compounds of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and very rarely oxygen. “This type of material is found in the depths of the earth and in delta sedimentation. Therefore confirms the interest of the Xerox Valley in exobiology“, The science of studying life in the universe.

Any exobiologist would obviously dream of discovering the organic matter produced by living things on Mars!», Christian Mustin, material expert at the National Center for Space Research (CNES). Favorable point for this search: Jessero is a closed lake, the sediments tell us that the water entered inside without leaving and its level was volatile. “The seats were alternately open outdoors and under water, so living forms were offered, According to Nicholas Mangold. Negative point: this closed system “Low energy and its hydraulic activity is less than that of a lake, which flows out to the other side of a river.», The geologist adds.

A new robot on Mars

Diligence has also detected the unexpected presence of large pebbles and boulders that witness strong river currents such as flash floods. The study suggests that the end of the Loxtrain period in the valley would have been a scene of major climate change. “What climate could have created this change? Drought, glacier? This is what we are looking for», The geologist explains.

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2 km from the geological systems surveyed by the rover. The final judge on earth will be the analyst of these models when they are brought back there by 2030. Two robots, Curiosity and Insight, are currently exploring the surface of Mars. In September 2022, the Russian-European mission ExoMars is to send a robot that can drill more than a meter deep into the red planet’s soil – the first.