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NASA Scientists Use Spectrometer to Search for Life Signs on Mars

Perseverance rover


NASA Scientists Use Spectrometer to Search for Life Signs on Mars

The scientific journal Nature has published a NASA study that used a spectrometer aboard the Perseverance rover to study the chemical composition of Martian rocks. Agency researchers are looking for molecular traces that indicate Mars had the capacity to support biological life.

NASA said in a press release that the instrument, called Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, is a major element of Mars Sample Return, a joint effort with the European Space Agency to retrieve such specimens for research purposes.

Mounted on the Perseverance rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC works by directing an ultraviolet laser at a sample and using a Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering camera to capture how light is absorbed and emitted.

According to the agency, scientists can analyze the resulting data to determine what compounds are present in Martian rocks and the environment in which they originated.

A drill on the Perseverance rover is used to collect samples from rocks, NASA said Friday.

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Category: Space