Recent findings from NASA's Perseverance rover have unveiled compelling evidence of an ancient lake at the base of Mars' Jezero Crater, shedding light on the planet's potential for harboring past life.
According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, data collected by the rover's ground-penetrating radar instrument, RIMFAX, reveals distinct sediment layers indicative of a once-water-filled crater. This discovery bolsters previous hypotheses of Mars' watery past and its potential to sustain microbial life.
The Jezero Crater was the landing site for Perseverance in February 2021. Since then, the rover has been traversing the crater, collecting samples and scanning the subsurface with RIMFAX.
Through radar soundings, scientists from UCLA and the University of Oslo uncovered evidence of sediment deposition by a river that once fed into the crater, mirroring geological formations seen in terrestrial lake environments. The findings underscore Mars' transformation from a warmer, wetter planet to its current cold and arid state.
The discovery of ancient lake sediments opens up new possibilities for understanding Mars' past habitability. Samples collected by Perseverance hold the promise of revealing further insights into the planet's geological and potentially biological history.