Perseverance Rover Discovers Evidence Of Ancient Lake On Mars, Reaches 1,000 Days On Red Planet

(Photo illustration by NASA via Getty Images)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Perseverance rover marked its 1,000 day on the planet Mars Tuesday.

The rover had celebrated this milestone by completing its exploration of an ancient river delta that used to contain a lake billions of years ago, NASA announced in a press release. (RELATED: NASA Currently Tracking 20,000 Or More Near-Earth Asteroids)

The lake used to exist in what is now referred to by NASA as the Jezero Crater. The rover took 23 samples along its trek, NASA stated.

NASA launched the rover July 30, 2020 and it touched down on Mars Feb. 18, 2021 at Jezero Crater, a fact sheet provided by NASA read. NASA stated the rover is slated to collect 38 rock samples during its time on Mars.

“We picked Jezero Crater as a landing site because orbital imagery showed a delta – clear evidence that a large lake once filled the crater. A lake is a potentially habitable environment, and delta rocks are a great environment for entombing signs of ancient life as fossils in the geologic record,” Ken Farley, NASA’s project scientist for the rover, explained.

The Perseverance retrieved two samples of interest regarding the question of potential life on Mars. The first holds notable amounts of silica, which has preserved Earth fossils. The second contains a large quantity of phosphate, which is frequently tied to known life on Earth.

Based on the 23 collected samples, NASA thinks the lake used to be 22 miles in diameter and as deep as 100 feet at its peak. The presence of liquid water itself is a basic necessity for life as scientists understand it, the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum stated. The Perseverance rover has yet to detect any demonstrable evidence for ancient life on Mars, NASA reported.

As a matter of public record, NASA maintains it has not found “life beyond Earth” but states alien life is “increasingly plausible.”