NASA’s Curiosity rover has been performing as our detective on Mars this summer and investigating an area once stuffed with streams and lakes on the red planet.
The rover landed on Mars seven years ago, and since then, it is despatched back thousands of images, roamed 13 miles and climbed 1,207 feet to its present home on the side of Mount Sharp. This feature is positioned inside of Gale Crater, where streams and lakes might once be discovered millions of years ago.
Gale Cater is an enormous and dry ancient lake bed with a 16,404-feet-tall mountain at its center. Mount Sharp’s peak is taller than the rim of the crater.
Now, Curiosity is examining the clay minerals left behind after the water disappeared. It has drilled 22 samples of the surface.
“This area is one of the causes we came to Gale Crater,” stated Kristen Bennett of the US Geological Survey. “We have been studying orbiter pictures of this area for 10 years, and we’re finally ready to take a look up close.”
Throughout its mission, Curiosity has encountered the most amount of clay minerals on Mount Sharp. The minerals have been first detected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter years before Curiosity launched.
Now that Curiosity can conduct investigations on the bottom, it is discovered more clay minerals, which is causing mission scientists to question why some had been obvious to the Orbiter and others weren’t.
Over the summer, Curiosity has handed through a “pebble parking lot” and studied other distinctive geologic options on Mars. Just lately, the rover’s camera captured a panorama of the Teal Ridge outcrop and Strathdon, a rock comprised of wavy sediment layers that might have been sculpted by wind, water or both.