On Mars, Endurance has reached the zone of reality and has finally hit the mark

NASA teams lost patience as their favorite rover approached the famous delta, the main purpose of the mission where they hoped to find traces of past lives.

Since landing on Mars, the Perseverance rover has been the main protagonist of an interesting scientific epic. NASA has been enthusiastically talking about its adventures and its partnership with Ingenuity, the small helicopter that also continues to work wonders. They are now approaching the most important stage of their mission.

For more than a month, this shock duo embarked on a long journey with the intention of reaching the edge of the Jezero crater, an ancient lake where the two engines landed on February 18. There they will find -an the main target of the mission that takes them to Mars, which is an ancient delta where the rover hopes to find biosignatures related to a past life. Here the researchers believe they have the best chance of finding these famous biosignatures, believing that they exist.

The culmination of a dangerous journey

Fortunately, this last part of the journey promises to be less complicated than the previous one. For now, NASA needs to be especially vigilant; he watches Endurance as the apple of his eye to help him find his way through the traps of the Red Planet.

Fortunately, the rover relies on Ingenuity. Always brave, the little helicopter went on to exceed all expectations. He now serves as the rover’s personal scout; it was largely thanks to his reconnaissance flights that his friend was able to avoid sharp rocks, sand pockets, and other geological traps on Mars upon reaching the gates of the delta.

But despite its versatility, the journey is not easy for the small drone. NASA has had to be especially vigilant over the past few weeks, when passing through a severe area and there are always complicated weather conditions (see our article).

An aerial view of the delta. The blue arrow signifies the locations of Ingenuity and Perseverance. The rover will soon climb the slope in search of biosignatures. © NASA/JPL

The agency even held its breath when it lost contact with its protégé. But well all ended well despite this fear; this little gem of engineering responded once more and finished this complicated phase well. Wisdom is not high, but like Endurance, he is very brave!

The main goal of the mission

The latter has now reached the foot of the delta, as can be seen in the image above. It is already on its way to Devil’s Tanyard, the first sampling area in the delta. NASA teams will then conduct a major survey. Using all the rover’s instruments, they will look for potentially interesting sampling sites, in addition to those already known.

It will then reach the top of the slope, in a place called Rocky Top. Currently, the craft must collect at least five samples during its hike. He would take the opportunity to make a small turn. The purpose: to dig a set of very fine mud rocks. NASA estimates that it “good candidates for the preservation of organic molecules and potentially ancient microorganisms”.

They are also interested in the particular sandstone forms of the delta. These samples were not intended to look for signs of life, at least indirectly. However, NASA researchers will focus on their structure. They will attempt to reconstruct the geological and hydrological history of the area; elements that are closely linked to the story of a hypothetical Martian life, even if there is clearly no guarantee of finding the signs of life we ​​know of on Earth.

the real the adventure begins

This phase will last for many months, and so you won’t be in a hurry. Even if NASA gets their hands on a defining element, such as a biosignature associated with a possible Martian microorganism, it will certainly take a long time to confirm its consequences. But there is something even more enthusiastic as an observer.

Because Perseverance has already rewarded us with frightening scientific results before it reaches the most interesting place. Now that he is nearing the final goal of his mission, we can expect him to have some interesting new discoveries in store for us on Mars, even if he sees little sign of extraterrestrial life.

And if he really does flush it out, it’s just a historic discovery; a step that will open a new chapter in space exploration and bring us closer to the origin of our own species. Obviously, there is no certainty, and Perseverance can be completely reversible empty. But that annoying prospect only justifies keeping our eyes glued to the rover for the next few months, as a game-changing announcement could fall at any hour.

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