NASA's rover Perseverance is investigating signs of ancient life on Mars, and it has now collected some of the most promising samples from the Red Planet yet.
According to NASA, several rock samples containing organic matter were found in Jezero Crater, a 28-mile wide crater home to what scientists believe was once a river delta that formed about 3.5 billion years ago.
"Jezero was selected for this mission because ... it allows us to explore an ancient habitable environment, (and) it allows us to seek evidence of possible Martian life in rocks deposited at that time,
"I want to emphasize: This mission is not looking for extant life, things that are alive today.
Instead, we are looking into the very distant past, when Mars' climate was very different than it is today," Farley said.
Perseverance launched in July 2020 and landed in Jezero Crater in February 2021. Since July 7,
NASA says, the rover has collected four samples from the delta, bringing the total number of collected, "scientifically compelling rock samples" to 12.
Perseverance is studying the delta's sedimentary rocks. The rover already has explored Jezero Crater's floor, finding igneous rocks.