As NASA’s rover Perseverance explores the floor of Mars, scientists attempting to find indicators of historical life on the distant planet are utilizing knowledge gathered on a mission a lot nearer to house at a lake in southwest Turkey.
NASA says the minerals and rock deposits at Salda are the closest match on Earth to these across the Jezero Crater the place the spacecraft landed and which is believed to have as soon as been flooded with water.
Info gathered from Lake Salda might assist the scientists as they seek for fossilised traces of microbial life preserved in sediment thought to have been deposited across the delta and the long-vanished lake it as soon as fed.
“Salda … will function a robust analogue wherein we will study and interrogate,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA affiliate administrator for science, advised Reuters.
A group of American and Turkish planetary scientists carried out analysis in 2019 on the shorelines of the lake, often called Turkey’s Maldives due to its azure water and white shores.
Scientists consider that the sediments across the lake eroded from giant mounds which might be fashioned with the assistance of microbes and are often called microbialites.
The group behind the Perseverance rover, essentially the most superior astrobiology lab ever flown to a different world, needs to seek out out whether or not there are microbialites in Jezero Crater.
They will even examine the seaside sediments from Salda with carbonate minerals – fashioned from carbon dioxide and water, a key ingredient for all times – detected on the margins of Jezero Crater.
“Once we discover one thing at Perseverance we will return to take a look at Lake Salda to actually have a look at each processes, (taking a look at) similarities however equally importantly variations which might be actually between Perseverance and Lake Salda,” Zurbuchen mentioned.
“So we’re actually glad we’ve got that lake, simply because I believe it is going to be with us for a very long time”.
Samples of rock drilled from Martian soil are to be saved on the floor for eventual retrieval and supply to Earth by two future robotic missions, as early as 2031.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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