Area Pictures of the Week: The Curiosity Rover is One Salty Canine



NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down on Mars in August 2012, and it’s been cruising round, capturing lasers at rocks, drilling into the bottom, and performing science experiments ever since. Simply final week, information got here out that Curiosity had discovered one thing salty. The rover is driving throughout Gale Crater, an historic Martian lake mattress that was as soon as full of water, and has found sulfate salts.

Scientists suppose that is doubtless on account of a really dry interval when water evaporated, leaving the salts behind. Our personal Earth stays moist as a result of we’ve an environment and a magnetic discipline, which retains our planet watery and wholesome so we are able to comfortably survive. However the story for Mars is a little more advanced. Billions of years in the past, Mars had an environment however it’s all the time had a reasonably small magnetic discipline, so the photo voltaic winds from the Solar stripped the environment away over time—leaving it the dry, arid planet we’ve grown to like.

This week we’re going to rove round on Mars alongside the largest, baddest, robotic on the purple planet.

NASA tends to call the rocks that Curiosity finds alongside its journey. Now meet “Outdated Soaker.” This slab is Three ft lengthy and has undoubtedly seen some issues over the previous 3.5 billion years. The crackling impact is because of puddles pooling over this rock and drying out, and pooling once more and drying out—a course of that repeated itself for aeons, abandoning this textured look.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This group of rocks is named Squid Cove, and like Outdated Soaker, it has seen numerous moist and dry spells. Most of what has created these formations is sediment increase over billions of years, and Martian geologists search to deduce the water evaporation cycle from the patterns and supplies they see. {Photograph}: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a workhorse satellite tv for pc that has taken among the most beautiful photographs of Mars ever. These rolling blue hills and dunes are the ground of Gale Crater. In these HiRise camera photographs, the blue represents the kind of materials on the bottom, which on this case can be extraordinarily superb sand. These false colours are created by the HiRise digicam processing—black would possibly point out salty water, for instance.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL-Caltech/College of Arizona


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