How to Abigail Allwood's Hunt for Alien Fossils on Mars Has

How to Abigail Allwood's Hunt for Alien Fossils on Mars Has

When NASA's Mars rover persistence was transmitted dramatically through the red planet's atmosphere and touched downward on iron-rich soil, geologist and astronomer Abigail Allwood was at home on Earth, livestream like the rest of us. Were watching the events through. Talking on the phone the next day, his thought process was probably similar to yours: "Talk about awesome — incredible," she said. "Excitement about landing and today about landing site." But in the coming months, Allwood will have a unique fee that years of terrestrial studies have prepared him for: the search for life on Mars.

The landing itself is a miracle. Once the rover defined Earth's gravity to go on a voyage, it reached approximately 130 million miles in space over the course of six months, eventually rotating downward at a breaking speed, moving toward the spinning planet. Had been and was properly visible (without any immediate noticeable damage). 20-square-mile target area set for this. (Once Perseverance's artificially intelligent navigation system indicated its landing location above the planet, it was installed only 16 feet or 5 meters below that location). Now west of the Jzero crater, considered as the ancient, dry river delta, the real work of fortitude can begin, with the foundation Allwood has dedicated decades on Earth, picking up on the basis of science.

A phone call stated, "I think it's all very hard work, coupled with some or the other hard work, Allwood is an important member of the Mars 2020 team." "You can do everything I did to a 'T.' But it didn't depend on me ... it was an alignment of holes in the cosmic Swiss cheese. "

At least in some of Allwood's astronomical trajectories, he points to a two-way inflection point: the discovery of Vikings 1 and 2 landing on Mars in the late 1980s and the discovery of Mars' meteorite with evidence of microscopes. in. 1984 Fossil fossils. The incident, which Allwood described as a "holy crap" moment for the region, took place at the beginning of her doctoral research at Macquarie University in Sydney.

By now, most of the modern victims of Martian life have been encountered on Earth. Tied to fiscal and technical limits for extraterrestrial research, astronomers have interchanged possible scenarios for the existence of life in the desolate universe by looking at the most barren sections of our own planet. Allwood has long been investigating for stromatolites, the oldest fossil of life on Earth, sediments forged by the development of single-celled bacteria, indicating the earliest of life, microbial bedcrocks. To the untrained eye, fossils look as if Sol Leavitt worked with sedimentary rock; Their cross-sections can appear like earth-toned wavy lines or a bunch of thick rings, nothing that ever lived.

Allwood dug into the stratata from cold, rocky reaches warm from Greenland, with the escarpment of the Pilbara in Western Australia, looking for these early identifiable living structures, which scientists suspect would similarly be in a primordial marshes, which It was very wet. The dusty, rusty areas are still there today. Some stromatolites, such as in Pilbara, occurred over billions of years in the Cambrian explosion of biodiversity (about 540 million years ago, about 300 million years before the dinosaurs). Allwood found the earliest known life on Earth in 2006, which was about 3.5 billion years old. Coincidentally, the chronological benchmark is also when Jjero is thought of as a lake. Flowing water channels on the western border, a river delta that could host stromatolite-like life.

Since his doctoral work, Allwood has focused on those extremely ancient layers of organic xenigans. It is now only with the safe arrival of persuasion, that such questions can be asked from another planet using a combination of state-of-the-art and off-the-shelf techniques. For Allwood, this is not much different from the work on Earth and requires a certain detachment from the big questions at play, as well as focusing more on the subtle details encoded in each rock.

"I've always dealt with rocks of incredible age from a planet that was truly alien compared to what we know here and now," she said. Therefore, Mars was 3.5 billion years ago for the red planet, which we now think.

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