The Perseverance rover is scheduled to make a historic touchdown at Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021 (in the present day). The rover will search the realm and acquire rock samples to ship again to Earth. Whereas no human has ever set foot contained in the crater, researchers have some concepts as to what to count on thanks to a comparable panorama on Earth: Salda Lake!
A lake in southwest Turkey, with an influence crater on Mars might imagine that a lot in widespread, however the two basins include comparable mineralogy and geology. The truth is, Lake Salda is the one recognized lake in the world to include carbonate minerals and deposition properties (deltas) comparable to these discovered in Jezero Crater, that are as soon as thought to include a lake.
Briony Horgan, a planetary scientist at Purdue College and a member of the Perseverance science crew, and his colleagues from Istanbul Technical College went to Lake Salda in the summer season of 2019 to examine the coastlines and its environment. They aimed to higher perceive the microbial and geological processes in Lake Salda to information the search for life in Jezero.
Beneath are images taken by Horgan’s graduate pupil Bradley Garczynski at Salda Lake, displaying a few of the options the Perseverance crew hoped to discover in Jezero Crater.
The shoreline round Salda Lake and the encircling bedrock include sediments of various origins. The picture beneath exhibits the coastal sediments alongside the northeast fringe of the lake.
The darker deposits have been eroded from the steep surfaces of the encircling bedrock. Gentle-toned sediments are composed of carbonate mineral hydromagnesite. You can additionally see the shallow carbonate bench (one to two meters thick) extending about 40 meters off the shore earlier than falling steeply into deeper waters.
Utilizing knowledge from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the researchers detected a combination of basin minerals and presumably carbonate on the western edges of the Jezero Crater, which scientists imagine was the shoreline of an historic lake. Horgan and his colleagues need to know if these deposits are comparable to these in Lake Salda.
Researchers are notably in lighter deposits round Lake Salda; as a result of bio-signatures which might be proof of previous or current life in Jezero Crater can assist the search.
It’s thought that the hydromagnetic sediments round Salda Lake have been eroded from the big mounds known as “microbialite” shaped with the assistance of microbes. Hydromagnesite deposits could also be comparable to carbonate minerals detected in Jezero. The picture beneath exhibits an uncovered island consisting of huge mounds of historic microbialites in Lake Salda.
These buildings themselves are good indicators that the microbes have been as soon as energetic, so researchers will probably be trying for indicators of them in rocks in the Martian crater.
The photographs beneath present an underwater view of an historic microbialite from Lake Salda rising on the floor of a rock on the shore of an alluvial fan delta (left) and a trendy microbialite at a depth of about one meter (proper). The yellow-green movie on the floor consists of microbial communities that assist the hydromagnesite to precipitate.
Rock beds in deltas
The delta close to Jezero Crater provides to proof that it as soon as contained a lake. Equally, Lake Salda incorporates alluvial followers stuffed with rock deposits eroded and washed away from the encircling bedrock (proven beneath). The crew can be taught extra concerning the deposition processes in Jezero by inspecting how the stones settle to the alluvial followers of Lake Salda.
The image beneath exhibits a sediment protrusion round Lake Salda that was deposited by an historic stream the place water ranges have been a lot greater. Completely different layers characterize totally different deposition durations and include varied grain sorts and sizes. The Perseverance rover will search for comparable deposits in Jezero to be taught extra about its geological previous.
The image beneath exhibits a terrace deposit on the southwestern peninsula of the lake.
Groundwater assets (proven beneath) in Salda Lake play an necessary function in altering the lake’s chemistry and affecting the surroundings for microbes.
The picture beneath exhibits a mud-dominated shoreline on the northeast fringe of Lake Salda. The sludge is probably going attributable to a close by groundwater seepage. Darkish options in the instant open sea are trendy microbialites actively accumulating in this muddy set.
What function groundwater performs in Jezero is unknown. Finding out analogous environments resembling Lake Salda helps to present researchers higher context whereas trying for proof of previous groundwater in Jezero and additional the search for potential bio-signatures.
With these observations from Salda Lake, Horgan and his colleagues have been higher ready to focus their analysis questions. If there have been microbes in the traditional lake Jezero, the place did they reside and construct microbial buildings? The place are the perfect locations to look for historic proof of those: close to groundwater sources? Is it shut to the delta? Or is it farther away on nonetheless shorelines or muddy lakes?
This text was revealed on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 14:40 below the Floor Images class.
Compiled by: Feyza ÇETİNKOL
/ NASA: Mars a lake can tell us in Turkey. Perseverance (Perseverance) to Search Comparable to Lake Salda on Mars /