The NASA Perseverance Mars Rover will be visiting a site with sedimentary rocks called Enchanted Lake. Scientists believe that the site may show signs of ancient life on the red planet.
NASA Mars Perseverance Rover has been collecting rock samples, analyzing the terrain, and hunting for evidence of previous microbial life on Mars since its landing in February 2021. Moving around the Jezero crater, it has found many interesting sights and shared them with scientists on Earth, but so far there have been no confirmed signs of life. However, that might be changing now as the rover is headed towards a site called Enchanted Lake. The location has an outcrop of sedimentary rocks and scientists believe that it might contain signs of ancient life.
Perseverance is not headed to this site for the first time. It was there in April 2022, but due to exploration duties, it wasn’t able to collect samples from here. But after sampling and exploring the ‘Wildcat Ridge’, it is all set to return to the Enchanted Lake. The location is considered an important site to find signs of life on Mars because the outcrop here contains a thin layer of martian rocks which formed as mud, silt and sand.
The official Twitter account of the Perseverance Mars Rover posted about this update saying, “Been checking on some small debris in my drill system. I’m designed for a dirty environment, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. Thankfully it looks like I’ll be rolling on soon, headed for this spot my team calls Enchanted Lake”.
Can NASA Perseverance Rover find life in the Enchanted Lake?
According to a report by Space.com, the rover will head to Enchanted Lake in September. Before that, it will check its sampling system to ensure that it is clear of any debris. While the Enchanted Location does offer a possibility of finding life on Mars, it will not be before early 2030s that NASA will get to examine the samples. That is when the NASA-ESA Mars sample return campaign is scheduled for which will deliver the findings to Earth.
Earlier it was reported that the rover found a string-like object on the surface of the red planet, the image of which went viral on social media. NASA gave an update on it as well. It stated, “Before beginning the drive, we’ll continue efforts to assess the two small, string-like pieces of foreign object debris (FOD) detected on one of the rover’s coring bits”.
“Since first identified Aug. 5 in imagery of the rover’s sample collection system after a 12th rock core sample was taken, the FOD has been the focus of several methodical diagnostic activities in an attempt to better understand the nature of the debris,” it added.