NASA chose the landing site of its life-hunting Perseverance Mars rover wisely.
Perseverance touched down in February on the floor of the 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater, which was picked primarily because previous observations by Mars orbiters suggested that it hosted a big lake and a river delta in the ancient past.
Photos snapped by Perseverance early in its mission, before the car-sized robot even started roving, confirm this interpretation, a new study reports.
“Without driving anywhere, the rover was able to solve one of the big unknowns, which was that this crater was once a lake,” study co-author Benjamin Weiss, a professor of planetary sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in a statement. “Until we actually landed there and confirmed it was a lake, it was always a question.”