Source: The Hindu Relevance: GS III- Science and Technology (Space Technology) Context: Data collected by NASA's Perseverance rover has verified the presence of sediments from ancient lakes in the expansive Jezero Crater on Mars, suggesting that water once covered this vast area. Investigations using ground-penetrating radar on the Perseverance rover have substantiated the existence of these ancient lake deposits within the crater.

These findings support the theory that Mars underwent significant climatic shifts, transitioning from a cold and dry environment to one that was warmer and possibly capable of supporting life.

The research:

  • Scientists were able to gaze below the surface and see a cross-sectional view of rock strata 65 feet (20 meters) thick, almost like looking at a road cut,; through sounds from the rover’s RIMFAX radar instrument.

  • These strata offer clear proof that, as in Earth’s lakes, soil sediments carried by water were deposited at Jezero Crater and its delta from a river that fed it. The results confirmed what earlier research has long indicated: that once upon a time, warm, moist, and possibly habitable Mars existed. Today, Mars is cold, dry, and lifeless.

  • The sediments of Jezero, which are estimated to have formed about 3 billion years ago, will be examined closely by scientists in samples that Perseverance taken with the intention of bringing them to Earth in the future.

  • The most recent study provides much-needed confirmation that scientists were right to launch their geo-biological mission to Mars.

  • Researchers were taken aback when they discovered, through remote analysis, that the early core samples that Perseverance had dug at four locations around its February 2021 landing were volcanic in origin rather than sedimentary, as had been previously thought.

  • There is no conflict between the two studies. When scientists discovered in August 2022 that even the volcanic rocks had changed due to exposure to water, they hypothesized that sedimentary deposits might have been washed off.

  • In fact, the RIMFAX radar scans revealed evidence of erosion both before and after the sedimentary strata formed along the western border of the crater, indicating a complex geological history there.

Perseverance Rover:

  • The most expensive, complex, and cutting-edge mobile laboratory ever deployed to Mars is called Perseverance.

  • It differs from other missions in that it can drill into the most promising rocks and soils, gather core samples, and store them in a cache; on the planet’s surface.

  • It is the centerpiece of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission which also included the small robotic and coaxial helicopter Ingenuity.

  • This is an old concept that looks to the dead for divinity. It has long been customary for all Tai (Thai) speaking people to revere their ancestors as gods in their own

Power Source:

  • A Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) that produces energy from heat generated by plutonium (plutonium dioxide) naturally decaying radioactively.


  • The main goal of Perseverance is to search for evidence of ancient microbiological life. The rover is the first to gather and store samples, and it is investigating and evaluating the regolith, rock, and dust of the Red Planet.

 Other Mars Missions:

  • ExoMars rover (2021): In September 2022, a collaborative expedition to Mars was planned by the Russian and European space agencies. Since then, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has been discontinued.

  • Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission (2021): China’s first expedition to Mars will look for subsurface water pockets that might support life.

  • UAE’s Hope Mars Mission (UAE’s first-ever interplanetary mission) (2021): A comprehensive picture of Mars’; climate is being constructed by the UAE Hope Mars Mission.

  • India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan (2013): India’s Mars spacecraft, Mangalyaan, began studying the planet in September 2014.

  • Mars 2 and Mars 3 (1971): The identical Soviet Mars 2 and Mars 3 spacecraft, launched in 1971, each released descent craft 4.5 hours prior to their arrivals at Mars. But the landers had the misfortune of arriving at Mars during one of the greatest dust storms in recorded history.

Advait IAS