Over Martian Shores

A riddle wrapped in
burnished dust
turns its
wounded face
towards our gaze –
furrowed brows
guarding tales
of distance,
A canvas of history
stretched out
across this bed
of broken mouths.
Every layer a
story told in pride,
as our envoy’s
dead and certain eyes
peer deep
into the withered
surface soul.
once flat and plane
now tilt
revealing ghosts
of ancient lakes
calm and still
a break.
A pause
before the delta’s birth,
and within
the trembling
hopeful sounds
of flowing,

Mars Perseverance Rover RIMFAX ground penetrating radar measurements of the Hawksbill Gap region of the Jezero Crater Western Delta, Mars. Hawksbill Gap 9Image Credit: Svein-Erik Hamran, Tor Berger, David Paige, University of Oslo, UCLA, California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA).

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found confirmation of an ancient lake on Mars.

Mars, our mysterious neighbour in the solar system, has long captivated us with questions about its history and potential to support life. One of the most intriguing aspects of Mars is its relationship with water. In the past, it’s believed that Mars had conditions that could have supported liquid water on its surface, a crucial ingredient for life as we know it. The presence of water on Mars raises exciting possibilities about the planet’s past, including whether it might have been habitable.

This curiosity has led to a fascinating study by NASA’s Perseverance rover, which is currently exploring a site known as the Jezero crater. This crater is home to ancient delta deposits, which are essentially layers of sediment that have been built up over time. These sediments can tell us a lot about the conditions on Mars in the past. The rover, equipped with advanced technology like the RIMFAX ground penetrating radar, can see up to 20 metres below the surface. As it moved from the crater floor to the delta area, the rover found a significant change in the layers beneath the surface. The older layers in the crater floor show a patchy and inclined pattern, while the layers above, in the delta region, are more regular and horizontal. This indicates that the delta layers were likely formed in a calm lake environment. Interestingly, at one point, there’s a clear break between the two types of layers, suggesting that the crater floor was eroded before the delta layers were deposited. This study not only enhances our understanding of the Martian surface and its history but also hints at the tantalising possibility that Mars once had conditions suitable for life.

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