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NASA's Perseverance Rover Confirms Ancient Lake Sediments on Mars

Sat 27 Jan 2024 | 04:35 PM
Israa Farhan

A study published last Friday reveals that NASA's spacecraft, "Perseverance," has collected data confirming the existence of ancient lake deposits formed by water that once filled a giant basin on Mars called "Jezero," according to Reuters.

The results are supported by ground-penetrating radar observations conducted by the six-wheeled robotic rover over several months in 2022 as it traversed the Martian surface from the floor of the crater to an adjacent area with features resembling sediment deposits similar to river deltas on Earth.

The research, led by teams from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Oslo, was published in the journal "Science Advances."

The study relied on subsurface scanning operations performed by the car-sized rover, which penetrated to a depth of 65 feet (20 meters), offering a cross-sectional view of rock layers, similar to looking at a road's cross-section.

These layers provide clear evidence that soil deposits carried by water settled in the "Jezero" crater and its delta from a river that once fed it, much like lakes on Earth.

The results reinforce what previous studies have long suggested: that Mars, which is currently cold, dry, and lifeless, was once warm, wet, and potentially habitable.

Scientists are looking forward to conducting a detailed examination of "Jezero's" deposits, which are believed to have formed nearly three billion years ago, in samples collected by the "Perseverance" rover for future transport to Earth.