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The search for extra-terrestrial fossils is looking more promising. But, I suppose one mustn’t get one’s hopes too high.

 

NASA's Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils

 

“Scientists with NASA's Mars 2020 rover have discovered what may be one of the best places to look for signs of ancient life in Jezero Crater, where the rover will land on Feb. 18, 2021.

 

A paper published today in the journal Icarus identifies distinct deposits of minerals called carbonates along the inner rim of Jezero, the site of a lake more than 3.5 billion years ago. On Earth, carbonates help form structures that are hardy enough to survive in fossil form for billions of years, including seashells, coral and some stromatolites — rocks formed on this planet by ancient microbial life along ancient shorelines, where sunlight and water were plentiful.

 

The possibility of stromatolite-like structures existing on Mars is why the concentration of carbonates tracing Jezero's shoreline like a bathtub ring makes the area a prime scientific hunting ground.”

 


 

Mars Scientists Investigate Ancient Life in Australia

 

Could Mars ever have supported life? In the Australian Outback, scientists from NASA's upcoming Mars 2020 mission and their counterparts from the joint European-Russian ExoMars mission visited the oldest convincing evidence for life on Earth to prepare for their own searches for signs of ancient life on Mars. The field lesson in astrobiology in the Pilbara region is being applied in the near term by NASA, ESA and Roscosmos for mission planning, and will also pay dividends when both rovers begin to send back science data and imagery from the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

Also see:  A field guide to finding fossils on Mars. (open access paper)

  • I found this Informative 2
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Ah, I always wanted to be a xenopalaeontologist. :D

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