- Data from the Perseverance rover suggest that the crater it explored contained a reservoir in the distant past
- Scientists hope to find traces of life
- In the future, the samples collected by the spacecraft are expected to provide more accurate information as they will be delivered to Earth on subsequent missions.
- More important information can be found on the Onet home page
According to the researchers, over time, the lake gradually shrank, and the sediments carried by the river that fed it formed a huge delta. The material at the bottom of the lake eroded over time, creating the structures visible on the surface today.
As planetary scientists explain, the deposition of these sediments and subsequent erosion took “eons.” An eon is a unit of time of at least 500 million years.
The results obtained by the surface robot confirm the hypotheses that were developed based on images of the area taken from orbit.
Perseverance rover on Mars
“We can see different types of sediments from orbit, but we cannot be sure whether they are in their original state or the result of long-term geological processes. To investigate how these formations were formed, it is necessary to look beneath the surface,” says the professor. David Page of the University of California.
Perseverance has been exploring the more than 50-kilometre-long crater since 2021. Between May and December 2022, it moved from the bottom of the crater to the aforementioned river delta made up of 3 billion-year-old sediments. The rover's onboard radar allowed us to search up to 20 meters below the surface.
In this way, two periods of sediment deposition intertwined with two periods of erosion were revealed. One layer of sediment (the younger layer) formed when fluctuations in the lake's water level allowed the river to form a large delta that at one time extended far into the lake and later eroded to an area near the river's mouth.
How was work?
The sediments are arranged in equal horizontal layers, similar to those that can be observed on Earth. It also turns out that the surface of the crater hidden underneath is not flat, which in turn indicates that erosion had already occurred before sediments from the lake were deposited.
“The changes we observe, preserved in the rock record, are caused by large fluctuations in the Martian environment. It is extraordinary that we can see so much evidence of these changes in such a small geographical area. This allows us to expand our conclusions to include the entire crater,” he says. Professor. beige.
In the future, the samples collected by the spacecraft are expected to provide more accurate information as they will be delivered to Earth on subsequent missions. Scientists believe it may contain traces of ancient life.
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