NASA’s life hunting mission on Mars could be the next big thing in space travel discoveries. Scientists speculate that on top of the Red Planet’s surface is the Jezero crater, which might hold answers to Mars’ biological history. The crater is a 145-kilometer wide depression where the Mars 2020 rover is expected to be land on February 2021
With this in mind, the sunken area was carefully pre-selected due to its vast availability of mineral deposits, which could prove to show that the Red Planets previously had the existence of previous life forms and microfossils.
Among the minerals that scientists expect to find on this crater is hydrated Silica. Scientists, using the Compact Renaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mass., discovered this after a previous scan. They identified possible existence and occurrence of Silica at the Jezero
With the current discoveries, researchers say that the appearance of this mineral shows great promise to the existence of microfossils and other bio microbiological organisms in the area, as the mineral has a high capacity to preserve these organisms. However, since it’s landing on the Red Planet, the Curiosity Mars rover has been exploring the Gale crater, which is 154km wide.
Photos taken from orbital satellites also showed that the Jezero crater might have at one point in time been a delta lake that dried up. This is a good sign as geologists’ state that deltas might raise the chance of finding microbial life. However, they also state that the delta might have been formed by past currents of water that carried concentrated deposits of minerals to the area
However, scientists also speculate that the occurrence of silica deposits in the previously Jezero delta region might not be a guarantee of the existence of living organisms. They also think that the chemicals might have been deposited there from a far distance by a flood
Scientists also discovered that the Jezero crater might have a ring of carbonate minerals that contain carbonate iron and C03. These minerals formed the basis of microbiological fossils after being broken down over millions of years. Such can be found from dead ocean life washed along with the coastal areas and beaches.
The Mars 2020 Rover, which is scheduled to land at the Jezero crater, will be used to investigate these chemicals and probably enable scientists to come up with an explanation for the previous existence of life in this area. However, scientists say that carbonate chemistry might not be a scientific guarantee, but offers a great hope towards such finds