Rare rock structures could offer a glimpse into possible life on ancient Mars

Rare rock structures could offer a glimpse into possible life on ancient Mars

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It’s impossible to know what Mars looked like billions of years ago, but a daring dig by a robotic explorer is giving astronomers a peek into the past.

NASA’s Perseverance rover celebrated 1,000 days on the Red Planet. Percy completed his investigation of an ancient river delta that fed a Martian surface feature called Jezero Crater.

By studying and taking rock samples Since landing in February 2021, the rover has helped scientists piece together a timeline of when a shallow lake filled the crater.

Now, the rover continues its quest to find signs of past life on the Red Planet. A new discovery on Earth could give scientists an idea of ​​what fossils might look like if they were on Mars.

Once upon a time on a planet

Giant stromatolites in Puna de Atacama represent the oldest fossil evidence of life on our planet, according to new research.  - Brian Hynek

Giant stromatolites in Puna de Atacama represent the oldest fossil evidence of life on our planet, according to new research. – Brian Hynek

A once-hidden lagoon system on Puna de Atacama, an arid plateau in northwestern Argentina, provides a rare window into what ecosystems on early Earth looked like billions of years ago.

Within the lakes are living fossils called giant stromatolites, or layered rocks formed from algae and minerals such as gypsum and rock salt.

The inhospitable environment of the high-salinity plains is often compared to Mars. But since the Red Planet was likely covered in lakes and perhaps oceans billions of years ago, Mars may have once been more like Earth.

“If we’re going to find any kind of fossils on Mars, this is our best guess as to what they are, because they’re the oldest in the Earth’s rock record,” said Brian Hynek, a professor in the Department of Earth Sciences. Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Other worlds

Saturn’s moon Enceladus has long intrigued astronomers as an oceanic world in our solar system that might support life.

Plumes of ice grains and water vapor rise from cracks in its thick icy crust, indicating a salty ocean beneath its surface. Now, a new analysis of data collected by NASA’s Cassini mission has revealed hydrogen cyanide, a molecule that plays a key role in the processes that give rise to life.

Furthermore, the research team found evidence that the moon contains a chemical energy source driven by organic compounds.

The presence of water, energy, and the essential elements for life together suggests that Enceladus may be the best place to look for life beyond Earth.

Discoveries

This Bavarian sword has been found in all its sparkling splendor, despite spending thousands of years in the dirt.  - Bavarian State Office for Monument Conservation

This Bavarian sword has been found in all its sparkling splendor, despite spending thousands of years in the dirt. – Bavarian State Office for Monument Conservation

Some of the most exciting art and archaeology The year’s discoveries were unconventional and unexpected.

Historical investigators have identified the man carrying a bundle of sticks on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 album known as “Led Zeppelin IV.”

Researchers have unearthed the oldest known European shoe and discovered a still-shining Bronze Age sword.

Nearly 400-year-old murals appeared from behind the kitchen wall, while a hidden entrance was found inside the Great Pyramid of Giza.

we are Family

People who tend to wake up early may owe some credit to Neanderthals, according to new research.

Neanderthals evolved while living in high latitude regions of Europe and Asia for hundreds of thousands of years. Over time, our extinct relatives likely became better adapted to seasonal changes in daylight than early modern humans who lived near the equator in Africa.

This genetic legacy may have been passed down when humans migrated across the world and encountered Neanderthals. It is just one of many Neanderthal genes that have been traced from ancient DNA and discovered in contemporary human populations.

About the universe

New details shine in James Webb Space Telescope image of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. - NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

New details shine in James Webb Space Telescope image of supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. – NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

A new image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to take a closer, more detailed look inside the remains of an exploded star.

It’s the second time researchers have used Webb to observe Cassiopeia A, a glowing supernova remnant in our galaxy.

Some of the newly observed features include ghostly light echoes, which appear to be the offspring of a massive cosmic cloud.

Separately, a team of researchers observed a fast, mysterious, recurring radio burst from space that has a never-before-seen property: The phenomenon has a frequency that sounds like a celestial gliding whistle.

Curiosity

Settle in and embark on a journey with these extraordinary reads:

– Engineers are trying to solve a computer glitch in the 46-year-old Voyager 1 spacecraft, which stopped transmitting science data as it explored the outer edges of our solar system 15 billion miles away.

– A massive, well-preserved skull of a prehistoric sea monster has been found on a beach in southern England, and will be detailed in a documentary presented by legendary naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Scientists have discovered an unusual phenomenon that keeps the glaciers in the Himalayas cold despite rising global temperatures.

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