New images from NASA’s Perseverance rover may reveal traces of a rollicking Martian river that was wider and deeper than scientists have ever seen here. It is reported in a message from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The river was part of a network of waterways that flowed into Jesero Crater, an area the rover has been exploring since landing more than two years ago.
Understanding these aquatic environments could help scientists search for signs of ancient microbial life that may have been preserved in Martian rock.
Perseverance is exploring the top of a fan-shaped pile of sedimentary rock that stands 820 feet (250 meters) tall and features curving layers suggestive of flowing water. One of the questions scientists want to answer is whether the water flowed here in relatively shallow streams or a more powerful river system. The “stitched” images taken by the Mastcam-Z tool on Perseverance indicate exactly the latest version.
“Those indicate a high-energy river that’s truckin’ and carrying a lot of debris. The more powerful the flow of water, the more easily it’s able to move larger pieces of materia,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California explained.
We should remind you that scientists noticed a series of curved bands of layered rocks in the Jezero crater many years ago. They could see these layers from space, but finally got to see them up close thanks to Perseverance.