The persistent rover, which had spent months traveling on Mars, could not have landed in a more interesting place.
Crater Lake: A dry piece of Mars rocks, blown by the wind, where a rover landed in February. Once it was the bottom of a lake fed by an ancient river with floods so strong that they could move rocks, scientists say.
These results, published last week in the journal Science, confirmed scientists’ suspicions that the crater had a lake millions of years ago and indicate that this part of Mars had a warm, humid past with a longer water cycle. complex of what was known.
“There were rivers flowing here,” said Katie Stack Morgan, an assistant scientist on the 2020 project and author of a study of the lake landscape about 3.5 million years ago. “Maybe Lake was a good place to live and this environment has evolved over time.”
More research can help researchers understand why the planet is drying up and provide new clues as to whether the planet has supported life.
View from the ground
The new perspective – thanks to perseverance – and the work of the geological research of the scientists allowed to implement these ideas.
Rover, which transmitted images from the surface of the crater to Earth, gave scientists new visions that cannot be seen from space.
“What you think you see from orbit around Mars may not be what you see as you enter the crater at eye level,” Stack Morgan said.
Surface-level imagery supported scientists’ theory that Jezero once contained a deep lake.
The images also gave scientists, including 39 authors, the opportunity to analyze layers of rock in an outcrop called Kodiak. The researchers found that these layers correspond to the way the river deltas appeared on Earth, indicating the flow of water in the ancient lake.
But there were also surprises in the picture. According to a scientific article, on other rocks near Kodiak, scientists noticed large pebbles (some up to five feet wide and formed by water) in the upper layers of the formation.
They suspect the rocks were dumped during a massive flood that was strong enough to quickly transform Mars ’watershed.
They don’t know what caused the floods, but the newspaper speculated that heavy rainfall, rapid melting snow or ice changes could cause flooding.
“It can be very difficult to rebuild that kind of thing,” Stack Morgan said.
Close to signs of life
Perseverance is the first engine that collects and stores samples of rocks from Mars.
Stack Morgan said it was exciting to know for sure that the rover would visit and collect samples from an old river-fed lake.
This means that the rover will have access to different types of rocks that were deposited in the crater. He said the rover should be able to reach and read parts of the lake’s ancient beds, which are “exactly the ideal Earth beds for organic matter and biosignatures.”
Rover may be the right place to answer some of humanity’s deepest questions.
“That’s why we came to the lake with so much perseverance,” he said. “So far, Jezero has not been disappointed.”