NASA’s Mars photo of layered rocks may be ‘proof’ flowing liquid is on planet
NASA's latest Mars Exploration Rover (MER) may have just found evidence of flowing liquid water on the Red Planet.
Perseverance, NASA's fifth MER, recently snapped pictures of layered rocks located in the planet's Jezero Crater which experts reckon could be a breakthrough in terms of sustainable Martian life.
Excitement started bubbling just over a week ago when the first images of the rocks were beamed back to Earth.
Sharing the snaps last Thursday (November 4), the official Perseverance Twitter account wrote: "Get a load of these layers! I’m getting out my abrading tool to take a look inside.
"Layered rocks like this often form in water, and can hold clues about what their environment used to be like. Let’s see if this would be another good place for #SamplingMars."
Some people on Twitter speculated eagerly about what the rocks could reveal.
One person said: "Rocks like this on earth would likely contain fossils would they not?"
"Oh man can you imagine if they found a fossilised plant," said another.
Perseverance touched down on Mars on February 18 this year with the aim of collecting samples that may show signs of ancient life or tell us more about how the planet has evolved over time.
The samples could be returned to Earth as early as 2031 when they will be sent to labs all over the world and analysed by leading scientists.
Perseverance has collected two samples so far on its hunt for signs of Martian life.
The MER has only just started working again after operations were interrupted by a solar conjunction, when the sun blocked Mars from Earth thus interrupting interplanetary communications for a few weeks.
Perseverance works in conjunction with its flight partner Ingenuity, a small space helicopter.
It too had to pause operations during the solar conjunction but completed its 14th Martian flight on October 24.
Scientists now hope that Ingenuity can provide some more context regarding how the layered rocks came to be.
Perseverance will now start taking samples from the rocks. It hasn't actually moved since the images were beamed back as the rover team thought it best to investigate the Jezero Crater further.
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