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Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2021 7:40:28 PM

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Joined: 9/21/2009
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Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
The latest Mars rover Perseverance just succesfully landed on the planet. Here in Finland we rejoice because much of the electronics and instruments in that vehicle is made, or developed, here.

EDIT:just understood that perseverance is the closest equivalent word in English for the Finnish word SISU ;-)
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, February 20, 2021 3:17:46 PM

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Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,333
Neurons: 167,191
Yeah I was stoked as well. An amazing feat of engineering, a sky crane!! Love it.
Oscar D. Grouch
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 6:07:33 AM

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Joined: 6/26/2014
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Here's an overview of the mission.

Searching for Life in NASA’s Perseverance Mars Samples
Feb 17, 2021

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/searching-for-life-in-nasa-s-perseverance-mars-samples

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will be the agency’s ninth mission to land on the Red Planet. Along with characterizing the planet’s geology and climate, and paving the way for human exploration beyond the Moon, the rover is focused on astrobiology, or the study of life throughout the universe. Perseverance is tasked with searching for telltale signs that microbial life may have lived on Mars billions of years ago. It will collect rock core samples in metal tubes, and future missions would return these samples to Earth for deeper study.

“To quote Carl Sagan,” said Gentry Lee, chief engineer for the Planetary Science Directorate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “‘If we see a hedgehog staring in the camera, we would know there’s current and certainly ancient life on Mars, but based on our past experiences, such an event is extremely unlikely. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the discovery that life existed elsewhere in the universe would certainly be extraordinary.’”

Mars 2020 mission scientists believe that Jezero Crater, the landing site for Perseverance, could be home to such evidence. They know that 3.5 billion years ago, Jezero was the site of a large lake, complete with its own river delta. They believe that while the water may be long gone, somewhere within the 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) crater, or perhaps along its 2,000-foot-tall (610-meter-tall) rim, biosignatures (evidence that life once existed there) could be waiting.

“We expect the best places to look for biosignatures would be in Jezero’s lakebed or in shoreline sediments that could be encrusted with carbonate minerals, which are especially good at preserving certain kinds of fossilized life on Earth,” said Ken Williford, deputy project scientist for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at JPL. “But as we search for evidence of ancient microbes on an ancient alien world, it’s important to keep an open mind.”

NASA’s fifth rover to the fourth planet from the Sun carries a new suite of scientific instruments to build on the discoveries of NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has found that parts of Mars could have supported microbial life billions of years ago.

Any hunt for biosignatures will include the rover’s suite of cameras, especially Mastcam-Z (located on the rover’s mast), which can zoom in to inspect scientifically interesting targets. The mission’s science team can task Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument – also on the mast – to fire a laser at a promising target, generating a small plasma cloud that can be analyzed to help determine its chemical composition. If those data are intriguing enough, the team could command the rover’s robotic arm to go in for a closer look.

To do that, Perseverance will rely on one of two instruments on the turret at the end of its arm. PIXL the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) will employ its tiny but powerful X-ray beam to search for potential chemical fingerprints of past life. The SHERLOC (the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument has its own laser and can detect concentrations of organic molecules and minerals that have been formed in watery environments. Together, SHERLOC and PIXL will provide high-resolution maps of elements, minerals, and molecules in Martian rocks and sediments, enabling astrobiologists to assess their composition and determine the most promising cores to collect.

An enduring hope of the science team is to find a surface feature that couldn’t be attributed to anything other than ancient microbial life. One such feature could be something like a stromatolite. On Earth, stromatolites are wavy, rocky mounds formed long ago by microbial life along ancient shorelines and in other environments where metabolic energy and water were plentiful. Such a conspicuous feature would be difficult to chalk up to geologic processes.

[continued]
Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 9:46:57 AM

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Joined: 8/3/2016
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Location: Jandiāla Guru, Punjab, India
I have also overjoyed coz over in charge was Dr. Swati Mohan an Indo-American lady.
Oscar D. Grouch
Posted: Monday, March 1, 2021 5:11:36 AM

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Joined: 6/26/2014
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Oscar D. Grouch
Posted: Monday, March 1, 2021 5:44:40 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/26/2014
Posts: 1,558
Neurons: 1,508,178
Oscar D. Grouch wrote:
An enduring hope of the science team is to find a surface feature that couldn’t be attributed to anything other than ancient microbial life. One such feature could be something like a stromatolite. On Earth, stromatolites are wavy, rocky mounds formed long ago by microbial life along ancient shorelines and in other environments where metabolic energy and water were plentiful. Such a conspicuous feature would be difficult to chalk up to geologic processes.



Stromatolites from Shark Bay, Australia...


Living...







Fossilized...




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