NASA’s Perseverance Rover: How the Color Purple Could Shed Light on Potential Ancient Martian Life

by Madison Miller
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Scientists are talking about the influence of the color purple, and this time we’re not talking about the influential 1985 coming-of-age drama directed by Steven Spielberg. Rather, our friend from NASA, the Perseverance rover, may have spotted something that could be a clue to some kind of ancient martian life.

The Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18 and has since been taking photos and collecting samples. One of the rover’s main missions is to find evidence of some kind of proof of life on Mars. It has been doing a lot of studying in the massive Jezero crater on the planet.

Now, scientists may be one step closer to doing just that.

What Does this Perseverance Purple Powder Prove?

According to National Geographic, the rover has picked up on purple coloring on the normally rusty-colored planet. The purple color coats a lot of the stones and makes them almost look like they’re dipped in paint. It has caused several scientists to want to take a closer look. Ann Ollila, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, has provided an early analysis of this purple color.

At this time she stated, “I don’t really have a good answer for you,” in terms of answering how exactly this purple color splotches onto different parts of the planet. More answers will come soon.

So, how does this all relate to ancient life?

It’s possible that these purple splotches can have some kind of encoded information that can allow scientists to reconstruct the previous environment on Mars. There’s something else that could even suggest proof of life too. On Earth, we have some similar stone splotches that are caused by microbes. Scientists have also found that the purple layer has hydrogen in it, which could suggest that water once played a role in its formation.

We already have some evidence that Mars was once a far more wet planet than it currently is.

Meteorite and Proof of Life on Mars

While the purple coloring has some scientists hopeful regarding life on Mars, a meteorite has us feeling the opposite.

A four billion-year-old meteorite from Mars made quite the impact on Earth back in 1996. Some scientists theorized that it had evidence of living creatures, while others were skeptical.

According to The Guardian, the meteorite was studied and it has been determined it is not actually proof of life on Mars. Instead, samples show that the compounds are actually the result of water. The findings from this can still be helpful as scientists look to discover as much about the universe around us.

As of now, the only way to really find proof of microbial life on Mars is to bring back samples to Earth. The Perseverance rover already has several samples ready to bring back to Earth.

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