NASA’s Curiosity Rover may have just found evidence that there was once water on the surface of Mars. Curiosity found rippled rock textures that suggest there may have been a lake in that location once a long time ago, in an area that NASA did not expect to find such evidence.
The discovery was made on Mount Sharp, which NASA explains is made up of layers, with the oldest at the bottom of the mountain and the youngest at the top. As the Curiosity Rover ascended the mountain it progressed along a Martian timeline. This allowed scientists to study how Mars evolved from a planet that was more Earth-like in its ancient past, with a warmer climate and plentiful water, to the freezing desert it is today.
Having climbed nearly a half-mile above the mountain’s base, Curiosity Rover found these rippled rock textures preserved in what’s nicknamed the “Marker Band” – a thin layer of dark rock that stands out from the rest of Mount Sharp. This rock layer is so hard that Curiosity hasn’t been able to drill a sample from it despite several attempts.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at email@example.com.
“This is the best evidence of water and waves that we’ve seen in the entire mission,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “We climbed through thousands of feet of lake deposits and never saw evidence like this – and now we found it in a place we expected to be dry.”
NASA says that Curiosity Rover is set out to answer the question: Did Mars ever have the right environmental conditions to support small life forms called microbes? Early in its mission, Curiosity’s scientific tools found chemical and mineral evidence of past habitable environments on Mars. It continues to explore the rock record from a time when Mars could have been home to microbial life.
Since 2014, the rover has been ascending the foothills of Mount Sharp, a 3-mile-tall (5-kilometer-tall) mountain that was once laced with lakes and streams that would have provided a rich environment for microbial life, if any ever formed on the Red Planet.
Mount Sharp is made up of layers, with the oldest at the bottom of the mountain and the youngest at the top. As the rover ascends, it progresses along a Martian timeline, allowing scientists to study how Mars evolved from a planet that was more Earth-like in its ancient past, with a warmer climate and plentiful water, to the freezing desert it is today.