Researchers Discover Ancient Lake on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance rover has confirmed the existence of an ancient lake on Mars. In research published in the journal Science Advances on Friday (1/26), the lake is referred to as the Jerezo Crater.
Several pieces of data confirm the existence of an ancient lake on Mars. Subsurface scans were taken by the six-wheeled rover, the size of a car, traversing the crater floor to adjacent sediment-like formations.

The sound from the RIMFAX rover’s radar instrument allowed researchers to peek underground. They obtained a cross-sectional view of rock layers up to 20 meters deep.

“[The cross-section of the layers] is almost like looking at a slice of road,” said lead study author David Paige, quoted from Reuters.

These layers provide tangible evidence that water-borne sediment was deposited in the Jerezo Crater, and river deltas flowed through it. This mechanism is similar to lakes on Earth.

The findings reinforce what previous research has speculated. Mars, once cold, arid, and ‘dead,’ may have been warm, wet, and potentially habitable in the past.

Data from radar observations by robot rovers, orbital images, and other data lead scientists to theorize that parts of Mars were once covered in water. There is a possibility that this planet harbored microbial life.

It is estimated that the Jerezo sediments formed about 3 billion years ago.

Previously, researchers revealed rocks that were volcanic in nature, not sedimentary. Both studies are not contradictory. Volcanic rocks show signs of alteration due to water exposure.

Radar readings also found signs of erosion before and after the formation of sediment layers. Paige said there are volcanic rocks at the landing site.

“The actual news here is that now we have driven to the delta, and now we see evidence of lake sediments, which was one of the main reasons we came to this location. So that’s the happy story in this regard,” he said.