The Perseverance rover landed on February 18 on the surface of Mars, specifically in the Jezero crater, which was believed to be an ancient lake.
Now, analysis of the images captured by the robot confirms the scientists’ theory: millions of years ago, Jezero was indeed full of water.
The study, which was published in Science, brings together the work of an interdisciplinary group of geologists and scientists who had access to the photographs and conducted a more detailed analysis of where Perseverance landed.
The images were taken in high resolution to the walls of the crater. They show the sediment strata that confirm the initial belief of the researchers. Formerly, these walls were the bed of a river and their characteristics are very similar to the formations that can be seen in the deltas on Earth.
“From the images taken from orbit we knew that it must have been water that formed this delta,” explains astrobiologist Amy Williams, one of the study’s authors.
“We now know that Mars was warm and humid enough to support a geological cycle around 3.7 billion years ago.”
Two other rocks taken a month ago by the rover also show signs that they were at the bottom of a body of water for a long period of time.
In the next few years, Perseverance will collect 30 more soil and rock samples, which will be stored and then sent to Earth.
Scientists want to study these samples to find some trace of microbial life, which may have left some kind of imprint in the salts of the rocks.