Exploring the delta is a priority for red planet exploration as it may hide preserved remains of ancient microbial life.
NASA’s Perseverance rover has reached an ancient river delta on Mars that the mission team “Three forks“. This was announced by the US space agency. “The Jezero crater delta is potentially an inexhaustible source of geological information and one of the best places on Mars to look for signs of microscopic past life‘ he explained Thomas Zurbuchen, Deputy Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “The answers are out there and the Perseverance team is ready to find them“, he added. The localized morphology is a vast collection of fan-shaped rocks and sediments formed billions of years ago at the confluence of a Martian river and a volcanic lake. According to the rover’s science team, exploring the delta is a priority because the fine-grained sediment , deposited at its base, represents the mission’s best choice to find preserved remains of ancient microbial life.
“We have been observing the delta from afar for over a year while exploring the crater floorSaid Ken Farley, member of the endurance project. “At the end of our quick traverse, we can finally get closer to it and get more and more detailed images showing where best to explore these important rocks.“. One of the goals of this expedition, called Delta Front Campaign and started this Monday is to find the best route for the rover to climb through the geographic accident, which rises about 40 meters above the crater mirror. During this portion of the ride, the six-wheeled vehicle is expected to pick up about eight rock samples in about six months. NASA’s Perseverance rover mission (which includes the autonomous Ingenuity helicopter) is trying to find signs of ancient microbial life, collect and store Martian regolith, collect data on Martian geology and climate, and such to pave the way for human exploration.