Tags: curiousity | rover | lake | mars

Curiosity Rover: Lake Evidence Found by NASA in Mars Crater

By    |   Monday, 08 Dec 2014 08:38 PM

The latest images from NASA's Curiosity rover exploring Mars showed evidence of a lake that may have once filled the 96-mile-wide Gale Crater some 3.5 billion years ago, scientists told reporters Monday.

Such a scenario suggests that the Red Planet could have sustained microbial life.

"We're now in a position where the jigsaw puzzle is beginning to come into view," said Imperial College London's Sanjeev Gupta, a member of the Curiosity mission's science team, NBC reported.

The new discovery combines data gathered by Curiosity since its August 2012 landing inside the crater. Scientists found rocks containing water-deposited sediments piled toward the center of the area, which raises the possibility that water filled most of the crater 3.5 billion years ago, and that a 3.5-mile-high mountain — known as Mount Sharp or Aeolis Mons — in the middle of the crater could've formed due to erosion.



"Finding the inclined strata was ... a complete surprise," said lead scientist John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Reuters reported. "Sedimentary geology ... is the cutting edge for trying to understand the Earth. When oil companies collect seismic surveys across places, they are looking for inclined strata because ... then you get geometry that tells you where the rocks are that you're looking for."

After finding the chemical properties and the environmental conditions required to sustain microbial life some two years ago, the rover headed toward Mount Sharp in search of other habitable areas and discover whether life-supporting conditions existed long enough for life to form.

"The size of the lake in Gale Crater and the length of time and series that water was showing up implies that there may have been sufficient time for life to get going and thrive," NASA's Mars Exploration Program scientist Michael Meyer said, Reuters reported.

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The latest images from NASA's Curiosity rover exploring Mars showed evidence of a lake that may have once filled the 96-mile-wide Gale Crater some 3.5 billion years ago, scientists told reporters Monday.
curiousity, rover, lake, mars
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2014-38-08
Monday, 08 Dec 2014 08:38 PM
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