NASA says Turkey's Lake Salda similar to Jezero Crater on Mars

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said researchers had been using their knowledge of a lake in southwestern Turkey to help guide its Mars 2020 mission, which will drop the Perseverance rover into a crater to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

"You may not be able to travel to Jezero Crater on Mars, but you can visit the next best thing: Lake Salda, Turkey. Though it is located a world away, Lake Salda shares similar mineralogy and geology as the dry Martian lakebed," NASA said.

Lake Salda in the southwestern province of Burdur’s Yeşilova district is the only known lake on Earth that contains the carbonates and deltas similar to those found at Jezero Crater, according to NASA.

The white shoreline around Lake Salda is comprised of sands and gravels that are dominated by hydromagnesite, which is similar to the carbonate minerals detected at Jezero.

Lake Salda is the fifth cleanest lake in the world and the deepest in Turkey. The lake is also known by Turks as the “Saldives” for its resemblance to beaches in the tropical Indian Ocean island nation. 

And, it came to the fore in last year's June with the Turkish government's plans to build a park around the lake. Since the development plans were revealed, environmentalists have rolled up sleeves to save the lake, some 150,000 people in under two days have signed a petition demanding the cancellation of the construction plans.

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