Space Evidence for ancient river on Mars in new rover images.

Mars used to be warmer and wetter, with a thicker atmosphere. It had lakes, streams and maybe even an ocean at one time, billions of years ago. Orbiting spacecraft show scores of ancient riverbeds, and some of the Mars rovers have found direct evidence for streams and groundwater that long since dried up. On May 11, 2023, NASA shared two new mosaic images from the Perseverance rover, showing what appear to be the remaining traces of a deep, fast-flowing river in Jezero Crater on Mars.

The river is thought to have been part of a network of waterways that emptied into the ancient crater lake a few billion years ago. Scientists already knew there were streams that fed the lake, leaving behind deltas that we can still clearly see today. But scientists had debated how deep or fast-moving these ancient martian waterways might have been.

Rollicking ancient river on Mars

Mission scientists say the images appear to show signs of what was once a rollicking river. Long, curving layers of sedimentary bedrock strongly suggest that the river flowed right through where the rover is now. Currently, Perseverance is on top of this pile of rock, which is 820 feet (250 meters) tall.

But was that river shallow and slow-moving, or deeper and faster-moving? The new images provide clues pointing to the latter: course grains of sand cemented together and larger cobbles. Libby Ives, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said:


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