Context: NASA’s Perseverance rover has discovered evidence of organic compounds in a Martian crater, providing insights into the potential habitability of Mars.
- The study, published in the journal Nature, reveals a more complex organic geochemical cycle on Mars than previously thought, indicating the presence of multiple reservoirs of potential organic molecules on the planet.
- The findings suggest that Mars has experienced aqueous processes and that water may have played a significant role in the existence of organic matter.
- The research team used an instrument called the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) to detect the organic compounds.
- The rover’s landing site in Jezero Crater, which was once a lake basin, shows a high potential for past habitability, as it contains minerals such as carbonates, clays, and sulphates that could preserve organic compounds and traces of prehistoric life.