‘False fossils’ littered across Mars may complicate the search for life on Red Planet

NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is searching signs of ancient life on Mars. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Mars may be covered in dozens of different nonbiological “false fossils,” which could interfere with the search for life on the Red Planet, two researchers say.

NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars in February, and the European Space Agency (ESA)  will launch the Rosalind Franklin rover in 2022. Both will scour the Martian surface for biosignatures — traces of past life — left behind from around 4 billion years ago, when the planet may have been habitable.

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