The Perseverance rover has made an unprecedented discovery on Mars

Perseverance recently discovered geological evidence of the existence of a large, fast-flowing river that once flowed through the Martian terrain and flowed into the Jezero crater, which the rover has been exploring for the past two years. This water system is completely different from anything previously encountered on Mars. 

Since February 2021, the Perseverance rover has been on Mars with an important mission - collecting dozens of rock samples. They will be delivered to Earth as part of the project under development for study using the latest instruments. Inside them, NASA researchers hope to find traces of a past life. To do this, Perseverance works in the Jezero crater. Several billion years ago, there was a huge lake in this crater, fed by the delta of the river. Over the past two years, the rover has already collected several samples, some of which were left on earth in case of unforeseen circumstances. Others will be stored inside the device and in a few years will be transferred to earth. 

So far Perseverance has been operating near the landing site. Now the rover will head straight to the ancient delta, which is considered the most promising place to search for extraterrestrial life. The mission team targeted a rocky outcrop called "Rocky Peak", over which, apparently, rocks deposited by a river flowing into an ancient lake were deposited, which brings us back to the recently announced news. We already knew that the fan-shaped delta explored by the rover was formed by water, but until now it was unclear whether it was a series of small streams or a much more powerful water corridor. Now the evidence points to the latter. Stormy river We have known for a long time that there was once water in liquid form on Mars. In 2004, the Opportunity rover landed near the shores of the ancient salt sea. 

Now the device is exploring the ancient lake bed in the Gale crater, where the ground is covered with ripples formed as a result of the movement of waves. For its part, the Chinese rover Zhuzhong discovered that water flowed on Mars "not so long ago." The discovery of Perseverance, on the other hand, is new. According to the analysis, a fast-flowing high-energy river once flowed through this region, which carried large debris and created huge piles of sedimentary rocks, which, although eroded by the wind, are still standing out today. 

"This is the first time we've seen such an environment on Mars," confirms Cathy Stack Morgan, assistant scientist for the Perseverance project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. One of these outcrops, called Pinestand, is unusually large, its height is about twenty meters. It can be seen below. The hill, nicknamed "Pinestand". 

A little less than half a kilometer away is another amazing formation, which the team called Skrinkle Haven. It consists of a series of curved strips of rock and probably represents either sandbanks formed in the river, or ancient river banks that have shifted over time. Over time, wind erosion has hollowed out the tops of these formations, which once could have been much higher. Despite this, the objects presented here again testify to a very watery past.

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