A new study sheds light on when Mars might have had water.

NASA's Perseverance mission scientists made an unexpected discovery about the composition of rock in Jezero Crater.

"This exciting new data will help us better understand when the crater held water, as well as provide insight into Mars' climate history."

The crater where Perseverance landed in 2021 held water billions of years ago.

Scientists predicted that the rock in the area would be sedimentary, meaning that it would have formed over time from settled mud.

Igneous rock is easier to date and may provide researchers with a more accurate estimate of when Mars had water.

SuperCam, a Los Alamos National Laboratory-designed instrument, was used to analyse the rock. To remove dust, SuperCam employs a focused infrared laser beam.

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