Rover Mars , Perseverance just sent a new image. The image shows how water helped shape the landscape of the Red Planet billions of years ago.
Quoted from The Guardian, Saturday (9/10/2021) the latest images provide clues that will guide the search for evidence of ancient life on Mars. Last February, the Perseverance rover landed in the Jezero Crater, which scientists suspect is a long-lost lake and river.
The river is believed to have flowed into the surrounding lakes, and deposited sediment in the delta that looks like a fan from outer space.
This study analyzes high-resolution images captured by Perseverance of cliffs that were once the edge of the delta. Layers within the cliff reveal how its formation took place.
NASA astrobiologist Amy Williams and her team in Florida, United States (US), found similarities between cliff features visible from the crater floor and patterns in river deltas on Earth.
The shape of the lower three layers indicates the presence and steady flow of water from the start. This suggests Mars was warm and humid enough to support a hydrological cycle about 3.7 billion years ago.
The top layer and most recently discovered layers feature large scattered boulders more than one meter in diameter, probably carried there by a violent flood.
But what they found was fine-grained sediment from the bottom layer that might be a sampling target for signs of long-extinct life, if there ever was one, on Mars .
The findings will help researchers figure out where to send the rover to take soil and rock samples that may contain valuable biological markers of Martian life forms.
“From the orbital images, we know for sure the water that formed the delta. But having these images is like reading a book, not just looking at the cover,” Williams said.
Finding out if there was ever life on Mars is Perseverance’s main mission. This research project takes decades and development costs billions of dollars.
Over the course of several years, the rover will collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed tubes, to eventually be sent back to Earth sometime in the 2030s for laboratory analysis.
Last month, the mission’s scientists announced Perseverance had collected two rock samples at Jezero that showed signs of having been in contact with groundwater for a long time. Their hope is that the sample may at one point harbor ancient microbial life and the evidence could have been trapped by mineral salts.
He also expressed his amazement at feeling lucky to have knowledge of ancient river systems on other planets. “It’s really eye-opening to see something no one on Earth has seen before,” he said.