The following Hypothesis was posited during the 4th Landing Site Workshop in 2009. Full personal notes on the meeting by Ryan Anderson can be found here
- Eberswalde crater stratigraphy, geomorphology, and mineralogy record the evolution of a crater lake, the history of hydrologic and climatic changes resulting in the formation of fluvial-deltaic systems, and a sedimentary depositional environment that might have been favorable to the preservation of organic materials and/or other kinds of biosignatures.
The remnant of a delta at Eberswalde crater and other layered rocks in the crater record the evolution of a habitable lake. The fine-grained minerals deposited by the delta concentrated and preserved organic molecules.
The white inset shows the image below of the delta within Eberswalde crater.
- * There is a delta, meaning that sediment from a known area outside the crater was dumped into a standing body of water.
- * The lowest layers of deltas are great for concentrating and preserving organic molecules, making them good targets for MSL. Lake-bed deposits would also be good for preserving organic molecules and evidence that the crater was once habitable.
- * We could learn a lot about the conditions at Eberswalde and the climate on Mars when the delta formed.
- * Based on the shape of some of the fan-shaped features at Eberswalde, the delta and the lake were probably long-lived.
- * There are interesting targets in the ellipse, including possible hydrothermal veins, hills of ejecta from Holden crater, and exposed Eberswalde floor material.
- * There is no evidence of a shoreline in the crater. Could the lake have been ice-covered?
- * The source of water and sediment for Eberswalde might be ejecta from the Holden impact causing ice to melt and flow into Eberswalde.
- * The delta looks like it formed after most of the planet had dried out. Is a younger age bad if you’re looking for evidence of habitability and organic molecules?
- Even though there is good stuff in the landing ellipse, it is a long drive to the primary objective: the big delta.
- The delta at Eberswalde does not represent a significant portion of martian history.