InSight Probe is on the way to Mars to study Geology The Search for Life on Mars with Rover 2020: The Plan is to Land at Ancient Lakebed known as Jezero Crater by Award-winning Author, adventurer and Scientist Mark Kingston Levin, PhD

Figure 1. Jezero Crater is an ancient Martian depression. It was probably created by an asteroid, millions or even billions of years ago. It is a good place to search for evidence of life.

Credit: Tim Goudge/NASA

Jezero Crater is about 50 Km (30 miles) wide and is located at 18.855°N 77.519°E in the Syrtis Major quadrangle. The name Syrtis Major is from the classical Roman name Syrtis maior for the Gulf of Sidra on the coast of Libya.

Figure 2. The northern side of the planet Mars contains both Syrtis Major Planitia and Elysium Planitia. Please see on the right top of the map

Syrtis Major was the first documented surface feature of another planet. It was discovered by Christiaan Huygens, who included it in a drawing of Mars in 1659. He used repeated observations of the feature to estimate the length of day on Mars. The feature was originally known as the Hourglass Sea but has been given different names by different cartographers. In 1840, Johann Heinrich von Mädler compiled a map of Mars from his observations and called the feature Atlantic Canale. In Richard Proctor’s 1867 map it is called the Kaiser Sea (after Frederik Kaiser of the Leiden Observatory). Camille Flammarion called it the Mer du Sablier (French for “Hourglass Sea”) when he revised Proctor’s nomenclature in 1876. The name “Syrtis Major” was chosen by Giovanni Schiaparelli when he created a map based on observations made during Mars’ close approach to Earth in 1877.

We believe that Mars long ago had water and this crater was full of it about 3 to 4-billion years ago. This large crater may contain deposits of clays with fossils. The lake in the crater was present when valley networks were forming on Mars. Besides having a delta, the crater shows point bars and inverted channels. From a study of the delta and channels, it was concluded that the lake did have a long period to evolve life. Was there life on Mars? If we find something I will be pleasantly surprised.

Figure 3. Shows the South Pole and more, About 1000 Km from the equator on Mars is the Jezero Crater.

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is expected to explore one of these paleolakes. Jezero Crater is one of two dozen sites that a team of scientists are expected to search for life if any ever existed. “These breached lakes are fairly common and some of them are quite large, some as large as the Caspian Sea,” lead author Tim Goudge, a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a statement. “So, we think this style of catastrophic overflow flooding and rapid incision of outlet canyons was probably quite important on early Mars’ surface.”

The team of geoscientists looked at the relationship between the canyon measurements and the crater rims that once enclosed all that water. Because the canyon size increased in proportion to the size of the nearby lake, the team believes that the 24 lakes violently burst through their walls, carving the canyons in just a month or less. What could have caused this violent event?

“The landscape on Earth doesn’t preserve large lakes for a very long time,” co-author Caleb Fassett, a planetary scientist at NASA, said in the same statement. “But on Mars … these canyons have been there for 3.7 billion years, a very long time, and it gives us insight into what the deep time surface water was like on Mars.” Therefore, some scientist think that these lakes may hold secrets of life if it ever evolved on Mars went it was wet, billions of years ago.

Perhaps that is the reason NASA wants to send its Mars 2020 rover to this part of Mars in 2021. The new research was included in a paper published on Nov. 16 in the journal Geology.

Figure 4. InSight’s launch photo. It is on its way to Mars on May 5 2018.

InSight is expected to land November 26, 2018 if all goes well. NASA will make history on Mars again. NASA launched the Mars probe, known as InSight Mars Lander, on May 5, 2018. It is expected to land on the flat plains of Elysium Planitia. InSight will research the Red Planet’s core. Insight is designed with a heat probe, a seismometer, communication systems and a crane. InSight will look deep to understand Marsquakes and other phenomena on Mars.

Figure 5, This is an artist’s view of InSight on Mars after a safe landing November 26, 2018.


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2018-12-10T22:05:57-08:00 November 26th, 2018|Blog, Space|