The Curiosity Rover, a car-sized robot built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has been traversing the Martian terrain for a decade. Most recently, it made a ground-breaking discovery in the foothills of a Martian mountain. The rover took pictures of rippled rocks that provide the most robust evidence yet of ancient water waves on the Red Planet. These peculiar rocks are similar to the undulating patterns left behind by receding tides on a beach. Mission scientists believe they were possibly created billions of years ago by waves rippling on the surface of a shallow lake. Ashwin Vasavada, who is Curiosity’s Project Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement that “this is the best evidence of water and waves that we’ve seen in the entire mission.” The area’s sulfates, or salty minerals, are believed to have been left behind when water was drying up. Since 2014, Curiosity has been ascending the foothills of a towering 5-kilometre mountain, Mount Sharp. This discovery offers new insights into the water history of Mars and the possibility of ancient life on the Red Planet. The findings are expected to provide a foundation for future missions to Mars and will continue to shape our understanding of this mysterious world.
Today: November 30, 2023