New image analysis from the Jezero crater on Mars via the Perseverance Rover has confirmed that the area was once a full lake, suggesting that Mars underwent drastic climate change which irrevocably altered the planet's landscape to dry and desert-like.
Data from the rover indicates that there was severe flooding in the area over 3.8 billion years ago when the planet had an atmosphere thick enough to support liquid water. Scientists studied the images captured by the rover's left and right Mastcam-Z cameras as well as its Remote Micro-Imager which confirmed that the outcrop was once a river delta. Stratiation in the rocks and deposits along the 'Kodiak' rock formation helped confirm the presence of the lake.
The data has been published in a paper which explores the hydrological cycle of the Jezero crater and tries to understand what exactly happened to it. Scientists now say that a severe climate event may have caused flash flooding near the end of the lake's life, which was energetic enough to sweep up large boulders from tens of miles upstream and deposit them into the lakebed, where the massive rocks lie still.
Soil and rock samples have also been packaged aboard the rover to return to Earth on future missions in the hope of discovering ancient microbial life that may have existed. Sanjeev Gupta, a Perseverance scientist from Imperial College, London, and a co-author of the paper says that understanding how the lake dried out could help in finding out what climate event affected Mars.