Researchers Discover Evidence of Organic Matter on Mars

Researchers Discover Evidence of Organic Matter on Mars

Minggu, 16 Juli 2023 – 10:41 WIB

Jakarta – The Perseverance Rover has found evidence of organic compounds in the Jezero Crater on Mars. Although this isn’t the smoking gun proving once and for all that Mars once hosted life, these compounds could have also developed in nonbiological ways.

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The results hint at surprisingly complex organic conditions for the “key building blocks for life” on Earth’s neighbor. The study was published in Nature, as reported from Engadget site.

The Perseverance Rover, the first to explore the Jezero Crater, has been investigating the area since February 2021. Researchers believe the basin once housed an ancient lake, including a delta from a river that once flowed into it. It’s one of the most likely regions to reveal leftover signs of life on Mars.

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Organic molecules like those observed in the Jezero Crater contain carbon and often hydrogen atoms. They are the core components of life as we know it on Earth, although they can also develop abiologically.

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“They are an exciting clue for astrobiologists since they are often thought of as building blocks of life,” paper co-author Joseph Razzell Hollis, a postdoctoral fellow at London’s Natural History Museum said to Newsweek.

“Importantly, they can be created by processes not related to life as we know it, and so organic molecules are not evidence of life on their own without sufficient extra evidence that cannot be explained by nonbiological or abiotic processes.”

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The rover observed the compounds using an instrument the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) that maps organic molecules and minerals on rock surfaces.


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