Mars Rocks could Exhibits Signs of Life From 4 Billion Years ago

The Jezero Crater delta, a well-preserved ancient river delta on Mars.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL
Iron-rich rocks close to ancient lake sites on Mars might hold important clues that show life once existed there, the analysis suggests.

These rocks -- that formed in lake beds -- are the most effective place to hunt fossil proof of life from billions of years past, researchers say. A new study that sheds light on where fossils may be preserved might aid the look for traces of small creatures -- called microbes -- on Mars, that it's thought might have supported primitive life forms around four billion years ago.

A team of scientists has determined that sedimentary rocks made from compacted mud or clay are the most probably to contain fossils. These rocks are wealthy in iron and a mineral referred to as silicon dioxide, that helps preserve fossils. They formed throughout the Noachian and western Periods of Martian history between 3 and 4 billion years ago. At that point, the planet's surface was plentiful in water, that may have supported life.

The rocks are far better preserved than those of a similar age on Earth, researchers say. will be} because Mars isn't subject to plate tectonic theory -- the movement of big rocky slabs that form the crust of some planets -- which over time can destroy rocks and fossils within them. The team reviewed studies of fossils on Earth and assessed the results of research lab experiments replicating Martian conditions to spot the foremost promising sites on the planet to seek for traces of ancient life.

Their findings may facilitate inform NASA's next rover mission to the Mars, which can specialise in finding out proof of past life. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will collect rock samples to come to Earth for analysis by a future mission. A similar mission led by ESA(European Space Agency) is additionally planned in coming years.

The latest study of Mars rocks -- led by a research worker from the University of Edinburgh -- may aid in the choice of landing sites for each mission. It may conjointly facilitate to spot the most effective places to collect rock samples. The study, revealed in Journal of geophysical research, also involved researchers at NASA's jet propulsion Laboratory, brown university, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale university within the United States.

Dr Sean McMahon, a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow in the University of Edinburgh's School of Physics and astronomy, said: "There are several fascinating rock and mineral outcrops on Mars where we'd wish to look for fossils, however since we can't send rovers to all of them we have tried to que the most promising deposits based on the best accessible data."

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