Perseverance rover confirms existence of ancient Mars lake and river delta

Inferred paleolake level inside Mars’ Jezero Crater at the time of Kodiak sediment deposition. The red star indicates the Octavia E. Butler (OEB) landing site of NASA’s Perseverance rover. Background from the Context Camera (CTX) mosaic. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LPG)

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.”

Source: Space