Something has radically changed a lake on Mars – from wet to dry. New research based on the first images collected by the Persevering spacecraft shows.
150,000 high-resolution images collected by Perseverance form the basis of the findings published by an international research group Science Journal. Sana Alomark, a researcher in the Department of Geology at Lund University, is:
– What we saw in these images we have not seen before from satellite images, because then you only see from above. When you unfold the side position, you see a tangible change in the environment in that place, she says.
It was known that 3.6 billion years ago there was a lake and delta in the area of the Jezero crater. But through detailed images from Perserverance, researchers have delved deeper into the geology of the area.
– What we see now is that this lake has gone from being a constant supply of water to being dominated by powerful flows that have been able to move one meter in size rocks. We speculate in the article whether you could have a periodic glacial melt rather than a continuous flow of water, she says.
Something big happened
The design of the delta as the photos show testifies that some form of significant change has taken place in the area, but it is difficult to say what is due.
– It could be anything. Climate change, that it’s generally getting colder or that something has happened like an effect that warms the water or a volcanic eruption. Or seasonal differences, that one year is wetter than another, says Sana Alormark.
The change could mean that the area has shifted from a place with potential conditions for life to a place that does not exist.
– What you are looking for is not a complex life, not even in the form of a small fish, but you are looking for remains or evidence of very simple life forms, such as organic molecules.
Look at the different rocks
Space soldier Perserverance has so far taken pictures a few kilometers away from the former lake. Now he will approach a more thorough investigation. Exactly how far you have to travel is unclear, and traffic conditions are not entirely known, so to speak.
The hope is that there will be a variety of stones above the delta remnants that can be seen in the images of Jezerocrat.
– If you imagine a pebbly beach on the ground where the stones are red, yellow and gray – then hopefully they will appear there.
By closely examining Jezerocrat’s rock types and how they formed, researchers will try to understand more about the geological history of Mars.
TT: How exciting is this?
– I think it’s very exciting, of course, says Sana Alomark.
Corrected: In an earlier version, there was an incorrect indication of time in the caption.
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