Jezero is a approximately 45 km diameter impact crater located in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. Jezero is an outstanding site to address key questions of ancient Mars climate, habitability, and volcanic history because: (a) It hosted an open-basin lake during the era of valley network formation [1,2], which ceased at approximately the Noachian-Hesperian boundary . (b) It contains two delta deposits [1,4] with Fe/Mg-smectite and Mg-carbonate sediment [4-7] (the only exposure of lacus-trine shoreline carbonates seen so far on Mars). (c) The depositional environment and mineral assemblage of the delta are promising for the concentration and preservation of organic matter [5,8]. (d) The diverse geologic units in Jezero are in clear stratigraphic context . The Jezero paleolake system has been thoroughly investigated at a variety of scales, including work on: the mineralogy of the delta deposits [4-6] and watershed , as well as the morphology and sedimentology of the basin  and delta deposits [1,4]. The geologic context of Jezero is also well-studied given the broad suite of alteration minerals exposed in the ancient stratigraphies of the Nili Fossae region [e.g., 6,10-13]. Here we present an overview of the units accessible for exploration in the Jezero basin, including questions and hypotheses that can be tested through analysis in situ and of returned samples. This is particularly timely given the upcoming Mars 2020 mission, for which Jezero is one of the final eight landing sites . Primary science objectives for Mars 2020 are to: (1) characterize the geologic history of a site with "evidence of an astrobiologically-relevant ancient environment and geologic diversity"; (2) assess the habitability and "potential evidence of past life" in units with "high biosignature preservation potential"; and (3) cache scientifically compelling samples for potential return to Earth .
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference; 20-24 Mar. 2017; The Woodlands, TX; United States