Sunday, October 24, 2021

Lake And River On Mars Discovered by The Exploration Perseverance rover


Perseverance rover
© NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech

 NASA has confirmed that Mars once had a lake and a river thanks to the Perseverance rover.
Scientists aim to learn more about the red planet's climatic and hydrological evolution when the Perseverance rover explores that barren, wind-eroded depression.

Jezero Crater on Mars was formerly a calm lake fed by a little river that began to endure rapid, violent floods after an abrupt shift in climate pushed massive rocks from tens of kilometers upstream to the lakebed, where they currently remain.

The initial study of photos obtained by NASA's Perseverance rover has confirmed what scientists had suspected: the Jezero crater, which is now a dry, wind-eroded depression, was once a peaceful Martian lake.

The crater was chosen as the rover's landing site because satellite photographs revealed that it resembled river deltas on Earth. The findings were published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Scientists from NASA and the French CNRS spearheaded the investigation, which included Jess Martinez-Frias of the Institute of Geosciences (IGEO).

"These Perseverance geological analyses of Martian rocks and outcrops demonstrate their value for defining ancient Martian habitats (paleoenvironments) and establishing their links with water and habitability conditions," Martnez-Fras told the EFE news agency.

When you look at the photographs, according to Benjamin Weiss, an MIT researcher and co-author of the study, "Basically, you're looking at a massive desert environment. The most desolate location on the planet. Despite the fact that there isn't a drop of water around, there is evidence of a totally different history. Something significant occurred in the planet's history."

Last February, the rover landed on the floor of Jezero Crater, just under two kilometers from the western side, but two of its cameras, the Mastcam-Z and the SuperCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), captured high-resolution images of the crater and a small mound known as the Kodiak butte, while NASA engineers remotely checked the rover's instruments.

When the rover returned them to Earth, NASA's Perseverance science team analyzed and merged them, revealing various sediment beds.

The researchers determined that the sediments were not formed by wind, but rather by water movement in a lake, flooding, or other geologic processes, by measuring the thickness, slope, and lateral extent of each layer.

"The rover was able to solve one of the huge unknowns, which was that this crater was once a lake, without having to land anywhere. It was always an unknown until we actually landed there and confirmed that it was a lake "Weiss acknowledges this.

The researchers noticed enormous boulders and boulders embedded in the younger, highest strata of the delta when they looked at photos of the main outcrop; some were up to a meter broad and weighed several tons.

The scientists came to the conclusion that the massive rocks must have come from beyond the crater or many kilometers upstream, and were carried to the lakebed by a flash flood with a flow rate of up to 9 meters per second and a water volume of up to 3,000 cubic meters per second.

These massive boulders in the delta's upper levels are the most recently deposited material, resting on layers of older and finer sediments, indicating that the ancient lake was fed by a gently flowing river for much of its history.

Over time, the crater experienced flash floods that deposited big rocks in the delta, and subsequently the lake dried up due to a climatic change that is unknown why it occurred. The wind ravaged the ground over billions of years, creating the crater we see today.

Scientists want to learn more about Mars' climatic and hydrologic evolution as the rover explores the crater, because if Jezero was once a lake, its sediments may retain remnants of ancient aquatic life.

Perseverance will hunt for areas to collect sediments and samples that will be sent back to Earth for scientists to examine for Martian bio-signatures on its next mission.

Article By Gerluxe

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