This week, NASA’s Curiosity rover stumbled across the best evidence yet that liquid water once covered much of Mars in the planet’s distant past: undulating rippled rock formations – now frozen in time – that were sculpted by the waves of an ancient shallow lake. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that they were discovered in an area that researchers expected to be dry.Continue reading “Curiosity Just Found its Strongest Evidence of Ancient Water and Waves on Mars”
MSL Curiosity is going about its business exploring Mars. The high-tech rover is currently exploring the sulphate-bearing unit on Mt. Sharp, the central peak in Mars’ Gale Crater. Serendipity placed a metal meteorite in its path.Continue reading “Curiosity Finds Another Metal Meteorite on Mars”
Remember all the fuss about the “doorway on Mars” from just last week? Well, this week, NASA issued some more information about the rock mound where the Curiosity rover snapped a pic showing a fracture hole in the rock. It looks like a door, but it’s not.Continue reading “The “Doorway on Mars” is More Like a Dog Door”
Photos can’t do some places justice – nor can any level of sophisticated remote sensing. That seems to be the case for Gale Crater. Curiosity has been wandering around the crater for almost the last nine years. Scientists thought Gale crater was an old lakebed, and it was specifically chosen as a landing site to allow Curiosity to collect samples from such a lakebed. But new research from scientists at the University of Hong Kong shows that most likely, the samples Curiosity has been analyzing during its sojourn didn’t actually form in a lake.Continue reading “Curiosity Might Not Be In An Ancient Lake At All”
Rocks can tell us a lot about a planet. On Earth, the study of geology has been around for hundreds of years and has resulted in such scientific findings as the theory of plate tectonics and the discovery of dinosaur fossils. Geology on Mars has not had as long and storied a history, but with the rovers that have landed on the planet in the last few decades, Martian geology has started to bloom. Curiosity, one of those rovers, has done a particularly good job at documenting the rock formations in its neighborhood of Gale crater. Now researchers led by a team at Imperial College London have published a paper using data from Curiosity that detail a set of ancient dunes on Mars that provide some insight into the planet’s former habitability.Continue reading “Dune Fields in Gale Crater Tell the Story of Mars’ Shifting Climate Over Eons”
Mars is often referred to as “Earth’s Twin” because of the similarities the two planets have. In fact, Mars is ranked as the second most-habitable planet in the Solar System behind Earth. And yet, ongoing studies have revealed that at one time, our two planets had even more in common. In fact, a recent study showed that at one time, the Gale Crater experienced conditions similar to what Iceland experiences today.
Since 2012, the Curiosity rover has been exploring the Gale Crater in search of clues as to what conditions were like there roughly 3 billion years ago (when Mars was warmer and wetter). After comparing evidence gathered by Curiosity to locations on Earth, a team from Rice University concluded that Iceland’s basaltic terrain and cool temperatures are the closest analog terrain to ancient Mars there is.Continue reading “Iceland is a Similar Environment to Ancient Mars”
Thanks to multiple robotic missions that have explored Mars’ atmosphere, surface, and geology, scientists have concluded that Mars was once a much warmer, wetter place. In addition to having a thicker atmosphere, the planet was actually warm enough that flowing water could exist on the surface in the form of rivers, lakes, and even an ocean that covered much of the northern hemisphere.
According to new research based on data collected by NASA’s Curiosity mission, it appears that the Gale Crater (where the rover has been exploring for the past eight years) experienced massive flooding roughly 4 billion years ago. These findings indicate that the mid-latitudes of Mars were also covered in water at one time and offers additional hints that the region once supported life.Continue reading “At One Time, This Region of Mars was Inundated by a “Megaflood””
What happened to Mars? If Mars and Earth were once similar, as scientists think, what happened to all the water? Did there used to be enough to support life?
Thanks to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity, we’re getting a better picture of ancient Mars and what it went through billions of years ago. A new study published in Nature Geoscience says that Mars likely underwent alternating periods of wet and dry, before becoming the frigid, dry desert it is now. Or at least, Gale Crater did.Continue reading “Curiosity Finds A Region of Ancient Dried Mud. It Could Have Been an Oasis Billions of Year Ago”
It’s all about the detail.
In a way, Mars looks like a dusty, dead, dry, boring planet. But science says otherwise. Science says that Mars used to be wet and warm, with an atmosphere. And science says that it was wet and warm for billions of years, easily long enough for life to appear and develop.
But we still don’t know for sure if any life did happen there.Continue reading “Pictures from Curiosity Show the Bottom of an Ancient Lake on Mars, the Perfect Place to Search for Evidence of Past Life”
Clay is a big deal on Mars because it often forms in contact with water. Find clay, and you’ve usually found evidence of water. And the nature, history, and current water budget on Mars are all important to understanding that planet, and if it ever supported life.Continue reading “Curiosity has Found the Mother Lode of Clay on the Surface of Mars”