Perseverance Rover

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Perseverance Rover Blog Image


Recently, the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Perseverance rover has discovered evidence of organic compounds in a Martian crater.

Key findings: 


  • The results reveal that Mars has a more complex organic geochemical cycle than previously thought, implying the existence of multiple reservoirs of potential organic molecules on the planet.
  • The findings suggest that water may have been a significant factor in Mars’s vast range of organic matter. 
  • A high possibility for past habitability exists at the rover’s landing site in Jezero Crater.
  • It has a variety of minerals, including carbonates, clays, and sulphates, due to its history as an old lake basin.
  • Organic compounds and perhaps even traces of prehistoric life could be preserved by these minerals.
  • The scientists used a first-of-its-kind instrument called the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) to map the distribution of organic molecules and minerals on rock surfaces. 


About Perseverance rover:

  • It is a robotic explorer to land on Mars as part of NASA’s ongoing Mars 2020 Mission.
  • Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.
  • The rover will collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in tubes, and leave them on the planet's surface to be returned to Earth at a future date.
  • Launch: It was launched on July 30, 2020 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • Landing: Successfully landed on the surface of Mar's Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021.
  • Features:
    • It is about the size of a car, but weighs only about 1,025 kilograms with all instruments on board.
    • Power source: Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). Converts heat from the radioactive decay of plutonium into electricity.


Q1) What is an organic geochemical cycle?

The organic geochemical cycle refers to the movement and transformation of organic compounds in various Earth systems, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere (oceans, rivers, lakes), biosphere (plants, animals, microorganisms), and lithosphere (sediments, soils, rocks). It involves the cycling of carbon and other elements essential for life.

Source: Life beyond Earth? NASA’s Perseverance rover finds diverse organic matter on Mars