Images from NASA's Mars rover show clues of wild Martian river

LOS ANGELES, May 11 (Xinhua) -- New images taken by NASA's Perseverance rover may show signs of what was once a rollicking river on Mars, one that was deeper and faster-moving than scientists have ever seen evidence for in the past, the agency said Thursday.

This animation shows NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover collecting a rock sample from an outcrop the science team calls “Berea” using a coring bit on the end of its robotic arm. (File photo: CFP)

The observations are leading scientists to rethink how ancient water once flowed on the Red Planet.

Understanding these watery environments could help scientists in their efforts to seek out signs of ancient microbial life that may have been preserved in Martian rock, said NASA.

Perseverance rover is currently exploring the top of a fan-shaped pile of sedimentary rock that stands 250 meters tall and features curving layers suggestive of flowing water.

A key objective for Perseverance's mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet's geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, according to NASA.