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I♥Pluto Festival 2022 | Searching for Signs of Past Life on Mars
February 17 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
On February 18th, 2020, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars. One of the main goals of this mission is to search for evidence of past life on Mars. Jezero crater, the landing site of the rover, was selected as an exciting astrobiological target because it is the site of an ancient river delta and lake that may once have been habitable. To determine if Mars was once inhabited, scientists will search for biosignatures, traces of life that are preserved in the rock record. On Earth, scientists study ancient biosignatures to understand what the ancient biosphere looked like and how it interacted with the planet. Dr. Moore’s research investigates ancient biosignatures from Earth with the goal of providing a framework that scientists may use to identify and interpret similar biosignatures in Jezero crater if they are present. Here, Dr. Moore will describe the astrobiological goals of the mission, what scientists know about Jezero crater and its potential past habitability, and the instruments that they will use to search for ancient biosignatures. She will present new insights into biosignature preservation on the ancient Earth and what they can tell scientists about how the biosphere and geosphere interacted on the early Earth. She will show how scientists can use instruments onboard the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover to search for similar biosignatures in Jezero crater. If such biosignatures exist, the data that scientists collect during the Mars 2020 mission will also help them to interpret how ancient microorganisms may have interacted with the Martian environment in the past. Learn More about the I Heart Pluto Festival here: https://iheartpluto.org/