NASA says ancient Mars may have resembled Turkey's Lake Salda

'Scientists believe the #RedPlanet may have resembled' Lake Salda billions of years ago, NASA says.

NASA says ancient Mars may have resembled Turkey's Lake Salda

A lake in Turkey's southwest may resemble a Mars long lost to billions of years of history, according to NASA.

The US space agency made the comparison to Lake Salda in an Instagram post as its Perseverance Mars rover explores the red planet's Jezero Crater, which scientists believe may have once been the site of a lake and river delta.

NASA posted a photo of the lake in which rocks can be seen below the azure water's surface laying on pristine white sand, saying scientists believe it mirrors scenes on Mars from 3.5 billion years ago.

"The rocks in this photo adorn the shoreline of Lake Salda in Turkey, an area that scientists believe the #RedPlanet may have resembled billions of years ago," it said.

"Formed over time by microbes that trap minerals and sediments in the water, this waterfront location provides some of the oldest known fossilized records of life on our planet. Scientists hope by studying microbial fossils on Earth, they might be better able to spot signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed on Mars billions of years ago," it added.

Those scenes are from the reality on present-day Mars, which is largely devoid of water except for ice and air vapor in the atmosphere.

Lake Salda is thought to be the only lake on Earth that has similar minerals and deltas to those found at Jezero Crater, which is thought to have once been the site of a sprawling lake, NASA said in a February blog post.

A NASA delegation and team from Istanbul Technical University traveled to Lake Salda in 2019 to study its shorelines and topography.