NASA’s Perseverance rover discovers possible organic compounds in Martian crater rocks

This Mastcam-Z enhanced color photomosaic from the Perseverance rover shows a hill near Jezero crater informally dubbed “Kodiak” by the rover team. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS; edited by Jim Bell/ASU

Rock samples from Jezero crater analyzed by

“I hope that one day these samples can be brought back to Earth so we can explore whether conditions were right for life in the early history of Mars.” — Professor Mark Sephton

Organic compounds (chemical compounds with carbon-hydrogen bonds) can be created through non-biological processes, so the mere existence of these compounds is not direct evidence of life. To definitively determine this would require a future mission to bring the samples back to Earth.

Led by Caltech researchers and built by an international team including

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