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Perseverance rover samples hint Mars had water for a long time

The Perseverance rover’s first rock samples from Mars are already offering insights. NASA researchers’ early analysis of the samples signifies water was current in Jezero Crater for a “long time” — assume tens of hundreds or thousands and thousands of years. That, in flip, suggests Mars’ water was steady sufficient to make it comparatively welcoming to microscopic life.

The mission crew additionally detected essential salts which may have fashioned when water flowed by way of the sampled rock. The salt may need not solely trapped pockets of Mars’ outdated water, however might have preserved indicators of life.

The two samples to this point come from only one rock. It will take for much longer to develop a higher sense of Mars’ secrets and techniques. Perseverance will not even accumulate samples from its subsequent location, South Séitah, till after a weeks-long break the place all missions on the planet will go into a “protective” state till the top of a Mars photo voltaic conjuction. The pause ought to take impact for everybody by early October. The samples will not return to Earth till future missions accumulate the samples Perseverance left behind.

Even so, the early information bodes effectively for the Perseverance mission — the crew has already found helpful details about Mars’ historical past. These and different findings couldn’t solely reshape humanity’s understanding of the planet, however set the path for future Mars exploration missions.

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