NASA’s Curiosity rover has sent back scientific data to suggest new evidence of water on Mars, and the idea that the fourth small reddish planet from the sun might have supported microbial life.
NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars delivered images and data that seem to suggest that rivers once flowed at the bottom of Gale Crate – and with the new evidence of water, then the red planet must have been suitable for some form of life in ancient times. And NASA even maintains that Mount Sharp in Mars was formed by a depository of sediments within a lake bed that existed tens of millions of years ago.
“If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars,” said Indian- American Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “A more radical explanation is that Mars’ ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but so far we don’t know how the atmosphere did that.”
Mount Shar’s outcrops lend evidence to the fact that a lake must have moved 154 kilometers below Gale Crater for several millions of years, and that the lake could have dried up and possibly reappeared again – and alternating rock layers between river and wind deposits shows that a river or lake could have filled and then evaporated in the said area.
John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, and a Curiosity Project Scientist states that “We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp. Where there’s now a mountain, there may have once been a series of lakes,” he said. “The great thing about a lake that occurs repeatedly, over and over, is that each time it comes back it is another experiment to tell you how the environment works.”
“We found sedimentary rocks suggestive of small, ancient deltas stacked on top of one another,” said Curiosity science team member Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College in London. “Curiosity crossed a boundary from an environment dominated by rivers to an environment dominated by lakes,” he said.
The rover Curiosity is digging 500 feet or 150 meters deep into the lowest sedimentary layers of Mount Sharp, and it continues to provide data about the crater floor that gives indication of past lakes at about 5 miles or 8 kilometers from its 2012 landing site to its current work site.