Mars, the fourth planet in our solar system and the one at the centre of our curiosity, has always intrigued scientists and astronomers who see the red planet as our best bet to host life outside Earth.
A new study by NASA has now proved that these hopes and fascination may not be captive to science fiction movies anymore for it has discovered serious evidence that Mars once may have been host to a long river delta and possibly, to even life.
Images sent by NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed at Mars’ Jezero crater this February, reveal that our neighbour may have had an atmosphere thick enough to support water flowing across its surface.
The Jezero crater has fascinated scientists for a long time who suspected it was once host to a river that fed a lake, resulting in the depositing of sediments in a fan-shaped delta that is visible from space.
The NASA study analysed images of long steep slopes captured by Perseverance and found that the Jezero crater is more intriguing and complicated than originally thought. The images reveal that the fan-shaped river delta experienced flooding events that carried debris and rocks into it.
These samples would be later brought back to Earth under the Mars Sample Return effort and analysed with powerful lab equipment that cannot be sent to Mars. According to this NASA study published in Journal Science, there are similarities between features of the cliffs captured by Perseverance and patterns of river deltas on Earth.