In a major finding, NASA’s Perseverance rover discovered signs of ancient lake sediments on Mars, especially in Jezero Crater. This exciting revelation comes from analyzing data collected by the rover’s ground-penetrating radar, studied by teams from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Oslo. Their research is published in the journal Science Advances.

In 2022, the car-sized rover traveled across Mars, using its RIMFAX radar to scan below the surface. These scans revealed soil sediments in Jezero Crater and its delta, suggesting Mars had a warmer, wetter past, unlike its current cold and lifeless state. Scientists are excited about the prospect of closely examining Jezero’s sediments, estimated to have formed around 3 billion years ago, using samples gathered by Perseverance for future transport to Earth. In a surprising twist, core samples collected by Perseverance in February 2021 revealed volcanic rocks instead of the expected sedimentary ones. However, both studies complement each other, with the volcanic rocks showing signs of water-induced changes. Recent RIMFAX radar findings reveal erosion before and after sedimentary layer formation, unveiling Jezero Crater’s intricate geological history. This boosts scientists’ confidence in their chosen Mars exploration site, marking a significant step forward in understanding the Red Planet.