NASA’s Mars explorer Perseverance has landed on the Red Planet. NASA engineers are using Salda Lake in Turkey to study rocks collected from Mars. Minerals and deposits similar to those in Salda Lake, known as Turkey’s Maldives, are found in Mars’ Jezero Crater.
Perseverance of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) started its mission by landing on Mars. Perverance will collect rock samples from Mars’ Jezero Crater. According to scientists, Jezero Crater on Mars was once under water.
However, in order to compare the collected samples, researchers need a sample from Earth. NASA researchers state that Salda Lake in Burdur has a similar mineral and rock structure to Jezero Crater. For this reason, Lake Salda, known as Turkey’s Maldives, is in the focus of NASA engineers. “The raft will be used as a powerful example that we can learn from and question,” said Thomas Zurburchen, director of science research at NASA, who told Reuters.Scientists are looking for traces of fossilized life in samples from Jezero.
In 2019, a team of Turkish and American scientists organized an expedition to Salda Lake. The microbialites eroded from the large stone masses around the lake are the main reason for the research. Researchers think that these microbialites were formed with the help of microbes. Microbialite traces will also be sought in the samples that Perseverance will collect.
“When we find something with Perseverance, we will go back to Salda Lake and look at the similarity of processes between the two. We will also see if there is any difference between Perseverance and what was obtained from Salda Lake,” Zurbuchen said. “So we are very happy to have this lake,” Zurbuchen added. Rock samples collected on Mars will remain on the Red Planet until 2031. On this date, samples will be brought to Earth with two separate robotic missions. NASA has previously made statements about Lake Salda.
NASA shared the results of the research on Salda Lake in Burdur, which has a similar mineral formation and geological structure in Jezero Crater on Mars, on Twitter. Researching in Salda for NASA, Prof. Dr. Nurgul Celik Balci said, “As a result of the researches, we are very close to finding traces of life. If ancient life once existed on Mars, the question of why it did not continue will excite scientists.”
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