The US Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) announced that the Perseverance rover exploring the surface of Mars has collected data confirming the existence of an ancient lake in the basin called "Jezero Crater".
According to the news on NASA's website, the robotic rover's findings confirm the scientists' previous belief, based on data from orbiting satellites, that parts of Mars were once covered with water and may have harbored microbial life.
Based on the recommendations of the mission team and scientists from around the world, who carefully examined more than 60 candidate sites on the Red Planet, NASA selected the 49-kilometer Jezero Crater as Perseverance's landing site because of its deltas.
Jezero was chosen after an extensive 5-year study.
Scientists have noted for years that the area has long been filled with water and was home to an ancient river.
Perseverance's data indicate that more than 3.5 billion years ago, river channels overflowed over the crater wall, forming a lake.
Scientists have discovered evidence that the water carried clay minerals from the surrounding area into the crater lake, suggesting that microbial life may have existed in Jezero during this period.
Scientists will study how the region formed and developed, and collect samples of Martian rock and soil to discover traces of past life.
Jezero Crater is 45 kilometers wide and lies west of a flat plain called "Isidis Planitia" north of the Martian equator.