Home / News / International / NASA picks ancient Martian river delta for 2020 rover touchdown

NASA picks ancient Martian river delta for 2020 rover touchdown

NASA has picked an ancient river delta as the landing site for its uncrewed Mars 2020 rover, to hunt for evidence of past life on Earth’s neighboring planet.

Even though the Red Planet is now cold and dry, the landing site, Jezero Crater, was filled with a 1, 600-foot (500-metre) deep lake that opened to a network of rivers some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago. The 45-kilometre wide basin “could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago,” NASA said in a statement.

At least five different kinds of rocks, including “clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life,” are believed to lie in the crater, just north of the Martian equator, the US space agency said. Scientists have debated where to land the rover for the past four years, and whittled down their decision from a total of 64 possible sites.

The USD 2.5 billion rover a joint project of the European Space Agency and NASA is set to launch in July 2020, and land in February 2021. Mars 2020 is designed to land inside the crater and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis, perhaps by the later 2020s.

x

Check Also

Sirisena says opposed to forming national govt

Sirisena says opposed to forming national govt

Colombo :  Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday said he is opposed ...

For the first time in 66 days, the sun will rise in the northernmost U.S. city

For the first time in 66 days, the sun will rise in the northernmost U.S. city

Wednesday is special in Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, Alaska, for reasons ...