Mars rover Curiosity photographed layered rocks near an ancient stream

(ORDO NEWS) — The Curiosity spacecraft sent photos of a dry stream bed from Mars. The footage was released by NASA.

Clay minerals formed when lakes and streams flowed through Gale Crater. Sediments have accumulated at the foot of Mount Sharp, 5 kilometers high.

“We no longer see the lacustrine deposits that we have observed down the slope for years. Instead, we are seeing signs of a drier climate, dunes that sometimes had streams flowing around them,” said Ashwin Vasawada of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The hills in the area probably originated from large arid, windswept sand dunes that eventually hardened into rocks. These former dunes are interspersed with other deposits that appear to be erosion-resistant layered rocks.

As the rover climbs up the slope, it finds less clay and more sulfate rocks. Soon Curiosity will take the last rock sample in the zone, which will give a more detailed understanding of the history of the change in the mineral composition of the rocks.


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