Rocks along the shoreline of Lake Salda in Turkey

January 27, 2021

The rocks seen here along the shoreline of Lake Salda in Turkey were formed over time by microbes that trap minerals and sediments in the water. These so-called microbialites were once a major form of life on Earth and provide some of the oldest known fossilized records of life on our planet. NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission will search for signs of ancient life on the Martian surface. Studying these microbial fossils on Earth has helped scientists prepare for the mission.

Today, the Martian surface is devoid of lakes and rivers, but billions of years ago it may have looked like this aqueous location on Earth. NASA's Perseverance Mars rover will land in Jezero Crater, which scientists believe was home to a lake and river delta about 3.5 billion years ago. Together, they 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.

A division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory built and will manage operations of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover for the agency.

For more information about the mission, go to: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020.

Credit

NASA/JPL-Caltech

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