NASA’s Curiosity rover stumbles upon wave-covered rocks left behind by an ancient lake

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA‘s Curiosity rover has discovered wave-covered rocks – evidence of an ancient lake – in a region of the planet that is expected to be drier, the US space agency said Wednesday.

“This is the best proof. water and waves that we saw during the entire mission,” said Ashwin Vasawada, Curiosity Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Stunning images of wavy patterns on the surface of the rocks, caused by the waves of a shallow lake billions of years ago.

Curiosity has previously found evidence that lakes once covered parts of Mars in salty minerals left over after they dried up.

But NASA scientists were surprised to find such strong evidence of water in Gale Crater, which the rover is now exploring.

“We climbed through a lot of lake deposits during our mission, but never saw such a clear wave ripple,” Vasawada said in a statement.

“This was especially surprising because the region we are in probably formed at a time when Mars was getting drier,” he said.

Curiosity explores the foothills of a three-mile (five-kilometer) mountain known as Mount Sharp.

The rover also found debris in a valley that was washed away by wet landslides on Mount Sharp, NASA said.

“This landslide debris is probably the very last evidence of water we will ever see,” Vasavada said. “This will allow us to study layers higher up on Mount Sharp that we can’t get to.”

NASA has said that Mount Sharp provides scientists with a kind of “Martian timeline” with the oldest layers at the bottom and the youngest at the top.

This allows them to “study how Mars evolved from a planet that was more Earth-like in its ancient past, with a warmer climate and abundant water, to the icy desert it is today.” “, the message says.

Another Mars rover, Perseverance, landed on the Red Planet in February 2021 to look for signs of past microbial life.

The multitasking rover will collect 30 rock and soil samples in sealed test tubes to be sent back to Earth sometime in the 2030s for laboratory analysis.


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