Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

Sources of Clay-rich Sediment in Eberswalde Crater, Mars with Implications for Biopreservation Potential 

Feb 22, 2023

Author(s): C. M. Hughes, M. S. Rice, C.J. Barnhart, A. M. Pfeiffer, T. A. Goudge

The geology of Eberswalde crater, Mars, indicates that it was once home to a neutral-pH, habitable lake early in Mars' history (about 2.0–3.5 billion years ago). The clay minerals that were deposited by the river that filled the lake likely formed in wet-subsurface conditions earlier in Mars' history (earlier than 3.5 billion years ago). Wet-subsurface conditions early in Mars' history are thought to be the time and place that were most conducive to life on the Red Planet. Thus, the geologic evidence in and around the Eberswalde crater indicates that it has a strong possibility of preserving evidence of past life on Mars, if life ever existed there. Notably, this deposit, rich in biopreservation potential, is remarkably similar to the deposit in Jezero crater, where NASA's Perseverance Rover is currently exploring, which makes it a strong candidate for comparison to the Jezero crater system. Paper here.