Seven years in, Curiosity turns up new Mars findings

10 Août, 2019, 10:52 | Auteur: Therese Cote

NASA Curiosity Rover is now halfway through the clay-bearing unit and the samples that the rover has drilled so far revealed the highest amounts of clay minerals found during the mission.

Scientists anticipate that there are still incredible things that are yet to discover, and with the nuclear power system, Curiosity is still anticipated for more discoveries on the Red Planet. But Curiosity has detected similarly high amounts of clay on other parts of Mount Sharp, including in areas where MRO didn't detect clay.

NASA added that scientists are wondering what caused the discrepancy between the MRO and Curiosity's findings.

'This area is one of the reasons we came to Gale Crater, ' said Kristen Bennett of the US Geological Survey, who co-leads the clay-unit campaign.

It has been seven years that NASA Curiosity has landed over Mars, and since then it has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 km) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location.

In June, the Curiosity rover left a region on Mars that NASA calls the 'pebble parking lot, ' one that is - as the name suggests - covered in small pebbles. It showed wavy layers in the rock which is nothing like the thin, flat layers associated with lake sediments Curiosity has studied in the region. Curiosity paused to capture a 360-degree panorama of this area and NASA has published it as the video below.

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A second photo (below) taken a day later with the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)-a camera affixed to Curiosity's robotic arm- showed the rock at a distance of 10 centimetres (4 inches).

Recently, the NASA rover got here throughout a big rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers. Wind, flowing water or both could have shaped this area.

The Curiosity team is calling it "Strathdon"-a boulder-sized Martian rock comprised of dozens of sedimentary layers".

Both Teal Ridge and Strathdon represent changes in the landscape.

'We're seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks, ' says co-lead Valerie Fox, from Caltech.

'It wasn't just a static lake. It is helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. "As a substitute of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated".

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