Perseverance will travel many miles in geological paradise

This detailed image shows the Tenacity subsidence zone, a dry river delta at the bottom of a massive crater. The crater, called Jezero, is about 50 kilometers in diameter. Only the western part of it can be seen in the photo. The vertical mountain range to the left of the image center is part of the steep, high crater rim.

The bottom of Jizero is about 3 kilometers deeper than the average elevation level on Mars. Measurements from the US Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the presence of sedimentary rocks and clay minerals (carbonates) – different colors show differences in soil composition.

Everything indicates that the crater was a giant lake a few billion years ago (‘Lake’ It is the Czech word for “lake”), and its depth is estimated at 250 meters. The remarkable recovery delta also dates back to that long period: water flowed from a wide valley (top left in the photo) into the lake through an opening in the crater wall.

At present, there was no longer any liquid water on Mars, but once the planet looked more like Earth. If life originated in that distant past, traces of it could be found in clay-containing sediments in the delta. Perseverance must land on the edge of the delta, and you will travel many miles in the years to come in what you can safely call a geological paradise.

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About the Author: Faye Welch

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