UNITED STATES: The Curiosity rover, which has been trundling across Mars’ surface for more than ten years, has made an incredible revelation.
Where experts believed there to be a dry area of land, the Curiosity rover discovered undulating rock textures on the surface, indicating an old lake once flowed there.
When Curiosity first landed on the “sulfate-bearing unit” in the Gale crater on Mars last October, researchers believed they had discovered the final indication that this area was formerly covered with lakes.
The Curiosity rover has aided in the discovery of the mission’s most convincing proof so far of ancient lake-based water ripple formation.
According to NASA, waves on the surface of a shallow lake stirred up material at the lake’s bottom billions of years ago, leaving rippling textures in the rock over time.
According to scientists, the rock strata here were thought to have originated in drier environments than the locations the mission had previously examined.
Sulfates, salty minerals, were believed to have been left behind as water was drying up to a trickle in the area.
“This is the clearest indication of water and waves we have found throughout the entire mission,” Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist, said in a statement.
Since 2014, the rover has been climbing Mount Sharp’s foothills. Mount Sharp is a 5-kilometre-tall mountain that was once covered in lakes and streams, creating a thriving environment for microbial life should it have ever developed on the Red Planet.
It is made up of layers, and as the Curiosity rover moves upward, the freshly generated layers enable researchers to examine how Mars changed from an old world with a climate more like Earth’s with a lot of water to the icy desert it is today.
The Curiosity rover has discovered rippling rock textures, but it has been unable to drill into them due to their extreme hardness.
This coming week, researchers will be searching for softer rock. Even if they are unsuccessful in obtaining a sample from this peculiar piece of rock, they are still keen to visit other locations.
In addition, researchers are concentrating on Gediz Vallis, an ancient valley that may contain information about the planet’s once-watery past.
According to researchers, the valley was created by wind, although a channel that runs through it and begins higher up on Mount Sharp is believed to have been eroded by a tiny river.
Scientists think wet landslides also happened in this area, pushing boulders and other debris the size of cars to the valley floor.
According to Vasavada, “The wave ripples, debris flows, and rhythmic layers tell us that drying from wet to dry wasn’t a simple process on Mars.” “Mars’ past climate was very complex, just like the environment on Earth today.”
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