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EPSS Researchers’ Ground-Penetrating Radar Images Reveal Surprises on Mars

Aerial photo of the remains of a delta where a water source once fed an ancient lake at the Jezero crater. | Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

A year and a half after landing on Mars, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has returned data from its current exploration zone of Mars’ 30-mile-wide Jezero Crater, which once hosted an ancient martian lake. Among the rover’s treasure trove of information was data from its Radar Imager for Mars Subsurface Experiment–or RIMFAX–instrument, for which EPSS Professor David Paige is a lead researcher.

Paige and his team used the ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data from Perseverance’s RIMFAX instrument to discover unexpectedly angled rock layers beneath Jezero Crater. While the inclined angle may indicate origins in molten rock or sedimentary lake deposits, Paige and his team’s analysis suggests formation through igneous, or molten, processes, revealing a geologic past far more complex than meets the eye.

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Posted on Aug. 26, 2022