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Scientists suspect Mars rover has already detected signs of life

Scientists suspect Mars rover has already detected signs of life

Experts seem to think the Mars Perseverance rover could have already picked up signs of microbial life.

The landscape of Mars is notoriously harsh - leading us to believe that surely nothing could survive there.

That might be the case right now, but scientists seem to think the unmanned rover Perseverance may have found a bunch of evidence indicating Mars hosted microbial life at some point.

This comes as the Perseverance investigates the area around the Jezero Crater.


The crater may have once been a river delta that dried up long ago, and could still have trapped ice deep under its surface, which is why the rover is equipped with a sophisticated radar scanning system.

Called the Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX), the system lets Perseverance scan depths of up to 10 meters below it for ice or water, and up to 20 meters below it in the case of simple rock and soil.

That means that as the rover has moved across Mars' surface, it's been building up a valuable map of the terrain from the Jezero Crater. That terrain was already known to have subterranean deposits of something for the rover to scan - so the findings it will bring back will likely be fascinating.

Since it's been there almost three years (it landed on Mars on 18 February 2021), the rover could very well already have a major trove of data onboard.


That comes in addition to more physical samples, which it has also been collecting throughout its journey. The ultimate goal is for these samples to power major breakthroughs by helping scientific teams to understand the makeup of Mars.

The rover's capacity for physical samples is apparently around 60% full at this stage, so it still has plenty of space to fill up.

Some of these samples have apparently already shown signs of containing organic compounds, but we won't know exactly what that means for quite some time. A separate mission might be required to get to Mars purely to properly examine and scan the samples that have been collected, and fully categorize them.

These are fascinating times for the mission, though, even if the findings are more microscopic - rather than any sort of dramatic revelation of an underground alien society on Mars.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Ignatiev / Artur Debat / Getty