Jezero (crater)

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Perseverance's First Full-Color Look at Mars.png
First full-color image transmitted by Perseverance from Jezero
Coordinates18°23′N 77°35′E / 18.38°N 77.58°E / 18.38; 77.58Coordinates: 18°23′N 77°35′E / 18.38°N 77.58°E / 18.38; 77.58
QuadrangleSyrtis Major quadrangle
Diameter49.0 km (30.4 mi)
EponymJezero, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jezero on the edge of the Isidis basin

Jezero[a] is a crater on Mars in the Syrtis Major quadrangle,[2] about 45.0 km (28.0 mi) in diameter. Thought to have once been flooded with water, the crater contains a fan-delta deposit rich in clays.[3] 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 inside the crater probably formed during a period in which there was continual surface runoff.[4]

In 2007, following the discovery of its ancient lake, the crater was named after Jezero, Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of several eponymous towns in the country.[5][6] In most Slavic languages, the word jezero[b] means 'lake'.[7]

In November 2018, it was announced that Jezero had been chosen as the landing site for the rover Perseverance as part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission.[8][9][10] In November 2020, evidence of boulder falls was found on the slopes of the delta deposits that the rover is planned to explore, on the wall of Jezero itself as well as on the wall of Dacono,[11] a small crater 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter on the floor of Jezero.[12] Perseverance successfully landed in the crater on 18 February 2021.[13] On 5 March 2021, NASA named the landing site of the rover as Octavia E. Butler Landing.[14]


In a March 2015 paper, researchers from Brown University described how an ancient Martian lake system existed in Jezero. The study advanced the idea that water filled the crater at least two separate times.[15] There are two channels on the northern and western sides of the crater that probably supplied it with water; each of these channels has a delta-like deposit where sediment was carried by water and deposited in the lake.[16] Craters of a given diameter are expected to have a certain depth; a depth less than expected means sediment entered the crater.[17] Calculations suggest that the crater may hold about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) of sediments. Most of the sediments may have been brought in by channels.[18]

Since it is believed that the lake was long-lived, life may have developed in the crater; the delta may have required a period of one to ten million years to form.[18] Clay minerals have been detected in and around the crater.[19][20][21] The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter identified smectite clays.[22] Clays form in the presence of water, so this area probably once held water and maybe life in ancient times. The surface in places is cracked into polygonal patterns; such shapes often form when clay dries out. The image below depicts examples of these patterns, and a channel that carried water and sediments into the crater.[2]

The geologic map of Jezero crater and the Nili Planum region

Sim3464 USGS Jezero Crater.png
Elevation map of Jezero.
Ancient rivers Neretva and Sava fed the crater from NW until the overflow flooding carved the outlet Pliva at the NE side of the crater rim
Perseverance's landing site in Jezero
Artist's concept of Jezero filled with a lake
Panoramic views ot the Jezero crater
Panoramic view of Jezero captured by Perseverance from Octavia E. Butler Landing
View of Jezero acquired by Perseverance's left navigation camera (Navcam) on the 14-th sol of the mission
Rim of Jezero taken by Perseverance's Mastcam-Z instrument


Mars 2020 mission[edit]

Mars Perseverance Rover - possible routes for exploration and study
Mars Perseverance Rover - Octavia E. Butler Landing Site In Jezero Crater
The Perseverance rover landing in Jezero Crater in real time, as seen from the skycrane deploying it, on 18 February 2021

Jezero, once considered a site for the Mars Science Laboratory, was later proposed as a landing site for NASA's Mars 2020 mission, carrying the rover Perseverance and the helicopter Ingenuity.[23][24] In early 2017 it was selected as one of the top three candidate landing sites, along with northeast Syrtis, 30 km (19 mi) to the southwest.[25]

A primary aim of the Mars 2020 mission is to search for signs of ancient life. It is hoped that a later mission could then return Martian samples from sites identified as probably containing remains of life. To safely bring the craft down, a 12-mile (19 km) wide, smooth, flat circular area is needed. Geologists hope to examine places where water once ponded.[26] They would like to examine sediment layers.

In November 2018, Jezero was selected as the target landing site for Mars 2020.[27] On 18 February 2021, the Perseverance rover landed successfully in Jezero Crater.[28] On 19 April 2021, Ingenuity performed the first powered flight on Mars from Jezero, which received the commemorative ICAO airport code JZRO.[29]

Mars Sample Retrieval Lander[edit]

Crater Floor Fractured Rough” is the area from which the first rock sample shall be collected[30]

A ESA–NASA team produced a three-launch architecture concept for a Mars sample return, which uses the Mars 2020 rover to cache small samples, a two-stage, solid-fueled Mars ascent stage to send it into orbit, and an orbiter to rendezvous with it above Mars and take it to Earth.[31] Solar-electric propulsion could allow a one launch sample return instead of three.[32] So, after a launch in July 2026, a lander with a Mars ascent rocket (developed by NASA) and a sample collection rover (developed by ESA) (or may be on two separate landers or a dual lander probe) lands exactly near the Mars 2020 rover in Jezero Crater in August 2028. The new rover collects the samples left behind by Mars 2020 and delivers them to the ascent rocket. If Mars 2020 is still operational, it could also deliver samples to the landing site. Once loaded with the samples, the Mars ascent rocket will launch with the sample return canister in spring 2029 and reach a low Mars orbit. The lander would bring a small and simple "fetch rover", whose sole function would be to retrieve the sample containers from the caches left on the surface or directly from the Perseverance rover, and return them to the lander where it would be loaded onto the MAV for delivery to the orbiter and then be sent to Earth.[33][34]

This design would ease the schedule of the whole project, giving controllers time and flexibility to carry out the required operations. Furthermore, the program could rely on the successful landing system developed for the Mars Science Laboratory, avoiding the costs and risks associated with developing and testing yet another landing system from scratch.[34] Even NASA may think of changing the Sample Return Lander into a two-lander or dual lander probe mission, one carrying a rover to collect samples and the other carrying the Complex Mars Ascent Vehicle that will launch the sample container into orbit. In addition, NASA may change the solar panels on lander with Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, a nuclear power source,or at least the lander with the MAV in case if fetch rover is launched separately, to ensure sufficient power and to keep the rocket’s propulsion system from getting too cold, thus ensuring a longer lifetime, better thermal protection and safe operation even if they are carried in Mars Global Dust Storm Season, but these changes are still to be clarified by NASA.

Interactive Mars map[edit]

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Mars Landing Sites (16 December 2020)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The pronunciation is approximately /ˈjɛzər/ YEH-zə-roh (Serbo-Croatian: [jêzero]), but the name is commonly pronounced /ˈɛzər/ JEH-zə-roh by the Mars 2020 mission team.[1]
  2. ^ Bulgarian, Macedonian: езеро, Serbian: езеро/jezero, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Slovene: jezero and its closest written variations (Polish: jezioro, Lower Sorbian: jezer, Slovak: jazero, Russian and Ukrainian: озеро), as well as in Baltic languages (Lithuanian: ežeras, Latvian: ezers)[7]


  1. ^ Urrutia, Doris Elin (18 February 2021). "How to pronounce 'Jezero crater.' (Yes, you may be doing it wrong.)". Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b Wray, James (6 June 2008). "Channel into Jezero Crater Delta". NASA. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  3. ^ Muir, Hazel. "Prime landing sites chosen for biggest Martian rover". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  4. ^ Goudge, T.; et al. (2017). Stratigraphy and Evolution of Delta Channel Deposits, Jezero Crater Mars (PDF). Lunar and Planetary Science 48 (2017). 1195.pdf.
  5. ^ "NASA Mars Mission Connects With Bosnian Town". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Planetary Names: Crater, craters: Jezero on Mars". Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b Trubachyov, Oleg Nikolayevich, ed. (1979). Etimologicheskiy slovar' slavyanskikh yazykov Этимологический словарь славянских языков [Etymological Dictionary of Slavic Languages] (in Russian). 6. Moscow: Nauka. p. 33–34.
  8. ^ Chang, Kenneth (28 July 2020). "How NASA Found the Ideal Hole on Mars to Land In - Jezero crater. the destination of the Perseverance rover, is a promising place to look for evidence of extinct Martian life". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  9. ^ Chang, Kenneth (19 November 2018). "NASA Mars 2020 Rover Gets a Landing Site: A Crater That Contained a Lake - The rover will search the Jezero Crater and delta for the chemical building blocks of life and other signs of past microbes". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  10. ^ Wall, Mike (19 November 2018). "Jezero Crater or Bust! NASA Picks Landing Site for Mars 2020 Rover". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Dacono". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  12. ^ Sinha, R.K.; et al. (2020). "Boulder fall activity in the Jezero Crater, Mars". Geophysical Research Letters (2020). 47 (23): e90362. Bibcode:2020GeoRL..4790362S. doi:10.1029/2020GL090362.
  13. ^ Billings, Lee. "Perseverance Has Landed! Mars Rover Begins a New Era of Exploration". Scientific American. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  14. ^ Staff (5 March 2021). "Welcome to 'Octavia E. Butler Landing'". NASA. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Ancient Martian lake system records two water-related events". ScienceDaily. 25 March 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Ancient Martian Lake System Records Two Water-related Events - SpaceRef". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  17. ^ Garvin, J., S. Sakimoto, J. Frawley (2003). Craters on Mars: Global geometric properties from gridded MOLA topography. Sixth International Conference on Mars. Abstract no. #3277.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b Schon, S.; Head, J.; Fassett, C. (2012). "An overfilled lacustrine system and progradational delta in Jezero crater, Mars: Implications for Noachian climate". Planetary and Space Science. 67 (1): 28–45. Bibcode:2012P&SS...67...28S. doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.02.003.
  19. ^ Bibring, J.; et al. (2006). "Global mineralogical and aqueous Mars history derived from OMEGA/Mars Express data". Science. 312 (5772): 400–404. Bibcode:2006Sci...312..400B. doi:10.1126/science.1122659. PMID 16627738. S2CID 13968348.
  20. ^ Mangold, N.; et al. (2007). "Mineralogy of the Nili Fossae region with OMEGA/Mars Express data: 2. Aqueous alteration of the crust". Journal of Geophysical Research. 112 (E8): E08S04. Bibcode:2007JGRE..112.8S04M. doi:10.1029/2006JE002835.
  21. ^ Poulet, F.; et al. (2005). "Phyllosilicates on Mars and implications for early Martian climate". Nature. 438 (7068): 623–627. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..623P. doi:10.1038/nature04274. PMID 16319882. S2CID 7465822.
  22. ^ Murchie, S.; et al. (2009). "A synthesis of Martian aqueous mineralogy after 1 Mars year of observations from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research. 114 (E2): E00D06. Bibcode:2009JGRE..114.0D06M. doi:10.1029/2009JE003342.
  23. ^ Staff (4 March 2015). "PIA19303: A Possible Landing Site for the 2020 Mission: Jezero Crater". NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  24. ^ Caleb Fassett, Bethany Ehlmann, Jim Head, Scott Murchie, Jack Mustard, Sam Schon. "Jezero Crater Lake: Phyllosilicate-bearing sediments from a Noachian valley network as a potential MSL landing site" (PDF). Retrieved 19 December 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Witze, Alexandra (11 February 2017). "Three sites where NASA might retrieve its first Mars rock". Nature. Bibcode:2017Natur.542..279W. doi:10.1038/nature.2017.21470. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  26. ^ Staff (2010). "The Floods of Iani Chaos". NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  27. ^ Mandelbaum, Ryan F. "NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Will Land in Jezero Crater". Gizmodo. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Touchdown! NASA's Mars Perseverance Rover Safely Lands on Red Planet". JPL. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  29. ^ "NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight". Mars Exploration Program. NASA. 19 April 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  30. ^ "Perseverance Scouts First Sampling Location". NASA. 7 July 2021.
  31. ^ Planetary Science Decadal Survey Mission & Technology Studies. Retrieved on 2012-05-10.
  32. ^ Oh, David Y. et al. (2009) Single Launch Architecture for Potential Mars Sample Return Mission Using Electric Propulsion. JPL/Caltech.
  33. ^ 'Bringing back Mars life' MSNBC News, February 24, 2010 by Alan Boyle
  34. ^ a b Witze, Alexandra (15 May 2014). "NASA plans Mars sample-return rover". Nature. 509 (7500): 272. Bibcode:2014Natur.509..272W. doi:10.1038/509272a. PMID 24828172.

Further reading[edit]

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