Curiosity discovers traces of ancient water flows on Mars

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(ORDO NEWS) — The latest news from Mars is increasingly related to the Perseverance rover, but we should not forget about another important research vehicle that is also “walking” on the surface of the Red Planet. The Curiosity rover, a faithful companion of Mars for more than a decade, recently reached a unique geological formation on the Gediz Vallis Ridge.

NASA officials were thrilled as the Curiosity rover approached ancient rock debris on the Gediz Wallis Ridge. These debris appear to have been formed by the action of water in the distant past. In honor of this important event, scientists have published a 360-degree video showing the entire Gediz Wallis ridge.

The Curiosity rover’s journey to this location was not an easy task. He first began climbing Mount Sharp in central Gale Crater in 2014. The first two attempts to reach the Gediz Wallis ridge were unsuccessful due to the jagged rocks and steep slopes that forced the rover to turn back.

However, the persistence and scientific determination of the researchers led them to a relatively safe path, which Curiosity was able to travel, reaching the optimal vantage point on August 14, 2023.

The Gediz Wallis ridge, which extends over a large part of the mountainside, has a height of about 21 meters. Scientists say the formation was caused by a mudslide caused by water that once flowed through the region. Over billions of years, the ridge has been eroded, but the debris remains and is now available for study.

The researchers paid special attention to the dark stones on the slope, which were transported to this place over time from the top of a mountain about 5 kilometers high. Thanks to these finds, Curiosity was able to study rock samples that were impossible to get to on its own.

The rover actively explored the Gediz Wallis Ridge for 11 days, taking many photographs and studying the mysterious dark rocks.

As one of the authors of the study, William Dietrich, said, “huge boulders burst out of the mountain much higher, fell down and crumbled at its foot. The results of this campaign have pushed us to better understand such phenomena not only on Mars, but even on Earth, where they pose an elemental hazard.”

In addition, on August 19, Curiosity took 136 Mastcam images of the area, which were combined into one panoramic image. Now this photo and 360-degree video are available to everyone, providing a unique opportunity to plunge into the world of Mars and learn more about its ancient geological history


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