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Mars scientists now know where to look for life

Mars scientists now know where to look for life

The UK is one of the worlds most nature-depleted countries – in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group of nations Mars scientists, new data shows. It has an average of about half its biodiversity left, far below the global average of 75%, a study has found. Biodiversity is the variety of all living things on Mars scientists Earth and how they fit together in the web of life, bringing oxygen, water, food and Mars scientists countless other benefits.

Prof Andy Mars scientists Purvis, research leader at the Natural History Museum in London, said biodiversity is more than something beautiful to look at. Its also what provides us with so many of our basic needs, he told News. Its the foundation of our society. Weve seen recently how disruptive it can be when supply chains break down – nature is at the base of our supply chains.

The new tool for assessing biodiversity, known as the Biodiversity Intactness Index, estimates the percentage of natural biodiversity that remains across the world and in individual countries. The UK has seen relatively stable biodiversity levels over recent years, albeit at a really low level, team researcher Dr Adriana De Palma explained in a news briefing.

World leaders are attending week-long virtual talks seen as pivotal in raising ambition for slowing the loss of nature ahead of face-to-face talks in Kunming, China, in April next year and the climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month.

The global biodiversity framework replaces the plan for the last decade, which missed all 20 targets.

To play our part, we need the UK to step up and turn our global promises into action at home, to show that we are not going to let another lost decade for nature slip past, said Beccy Speight, chief executive of the RSPB. Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. Since 1970, there has been on average almost a 70% decline in the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

Theres an air of relief in the science team running the American space agencys (Nasa) Perseverance rover on Mars. Percy touched down in Jezero Crater in February and ever since has been snapping thousands of images of its surroundings. Were talking of events over 3.5 billion years ago when the Red Planets climate was far more benign. People have said to me, So, whats new here? Didnt we know there was a delta in Jezero Crater?. Well, actually, we didnt.

This is not a setting as conducive to biology. Martian microbes, assuming they existed, would have preferred the calmer, persistent waters associated with a delta. Its possible to see in this remnant some of the classic layering produced by a developing delta.

On top of Kodiak and the main delta formation in Jezero are a lot of large boulders. These do speak to flood events late in the history of water in the crater. Something changed in the hydrology. But to move these big boulders needs something like a flood. Maybe there were glacial lakes in the local catchment that sent these flood waters into Jezero.

We see lake outbursts on Earth in places like the Himalayas. Theyll also target a ring of carbonate rocks around the edge of Jezero that likely represent the shores of the crater lake when it was at its deepest.

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