NASA’s Opportunity Rover Spots Evidence of Ancient Lake on Mars
NASA’s Opportunity examines the edge of a crater on Mars that once could be a lake of liquid water.
The roadster opportunity has found rocks at the edge of the crater Endeavor, which were transported by flood or eroded by the wind.
The features were observed on the outskirts of the edge of the crater above the valley of perseverance, which is carved into the inner slope of the rim. Researchers plan to drive Opportunity Perseverance down valley after completing a “Walkabout” survey in the upper area.
The Opportunity mission studied sites at and near the western edge of Endeavor crater since 2011. The crater is about 22 kilometers.
“The Walkabout is designed to look at what happens just above Perseverance Valley,” said Ray Arvidson of the University of Washington in St. Louis.
“We see a pattern of stretch marks stretching from east to west past the ridge crest,” said Arvidson, deputy chief investigator of the Opportunity mission.
Part of the ridge at the top of the Valley Perseverance has a large wound. To the west of this rocks elongate points line the sides of a depressed area some land, east and west, which could have been a drainage channel there for thousands of years.
“We want to determine whether they are on rock or transported rock site,” said Arvidson.
“One possibility is that this site was the end of a watershed where the lake rises against the outer rim of the crater,” he said.
“A flood could bring rocks, crossed the rim and overflowed into the crater, carving the valley inside the tire,” he added.
“Another possibility is that the area has been fractured by the impact created by the Endeavor crater and the rocky dikes full fractures, and we see the effects of wind erosion on full fractures,” Arvidson said.
In the case of a lake posed, the notch on the ridge just above the valley of perseverance may have been a landfill.
Weighing against this hypothesis is the observation that the land west of the slopes of the ridges, not the crater.
The scientific team is considering possible explanation of how the slope might have changed.
A variation of the impact fracture hypothesis is that water rising from the ground favored fractures as access roads to the surface and contributed to the deterioration of the fractured rocks.
The team analyzes the images of the Valley perseverance, taken from the edge of walking the path of Opportunity.
The valley extends from the peak in the crater on a slope of approximately 15 to 17 degrees in a distance of around two football fields.