Ancient Lake on Mars Confirmed by NASA’s Perseverance Rover
On January 28, IT Home reported that data collected by NASA’s Perseverance rover confirmed the existence of ancient lake bed sediment in the Jezero crater on Mars. This research was published in the journal Science Advances, providing strong evidence for the theory that Mars was once covered by water and may have harbored microbial life.
The study, led by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Oslo, was based on underground scanning data collected by the Perseverance rover as it traversed the Martian surface over several months in 2022. The rover climbed out of the crater bottom to an adjacent area consisting of braided sedimentary rock features, resembling river delta formations seen from orbit on Earth.
The RIMFAX radar instrument on the Perseverance rover emitted signals that allowed scientists to “peek” underground, providing a cross-sectional view of rock layers up to 20 meters deep.
These rock layers offered unequivocal evidence that sediment carried by water was deposited in the Jezero crater and its delta, similar to sediment in Earth’s lakes. These findings further affirm previous hypotheses that Mars, once cold, arid, and lifeless, was previously warm, wet, and conducive to supporting life.
Scientists are eager to conduct close-up studies of the Jezero sediment, believed to have formed approximately 3 billion years ago. Perseverance has already collected relevant samples in preparation for future return to Earth.