Mars Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence Of Water In Mud Cracks

Posted: Jan 21 2017, 12:40am CST | by , Updated: Jan 21 2017, 12:42am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Mars Curiosity Rover Finds Evidence of Water in Mud Cracks
The network of cracks in this Martian rock slab called "Old Soaker" may have formed from the drying of a mud layer more than 3 billion years ago. The view spans about 3 feet (90 centimeters) left-to-right and combines three images taken by the MAHLI camera on the arm of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
  • Mars surface shows evidence of water, as revealed by mud cracks
 

Mars Curiosity rover examines first mud cracks on the surface of red planet and it has found evidence of ancient lakes in younger mudstone and also in older rock layers.

The Curiosity Mars rover helped NASA scientists observe rocks’ slabs that had deep ridges which were initially dry mud cracks. These cracks were observed by Curiosity science team and led by Nathan Stein, who is a graduate student at Caltech in Pasadena, California. The team observed Old Soaker the site on Mars that exists on lower mount sharp.

Scientists say that if the prediction goes right, then these mud cracks would be the first desiccation cracks. The cracks are proof that Mars had water in the ancient times that got converted into sediments after drying. Curiosity also found the existence of lakes and mudstone over Old Soaker.

Stein said that, the team could see polygon shaped patterns from the distance. The forms did not resemble previous cracks detected by curiosity; instead they were like dried mud with cracks as we have around our roads.

Research shows that the mud developed 3 billion years ago due to sediments buried one over another. But, later the layers got cracks due to erosions caused by wind. The cracks got filled with material that prevented further erosion that’s why the pattern over mud looks like raised ridges.

The research team studied the filling material in cracks with curiosity, and found that they were filled with windblown sand and dust. Curiosity also studied several other cracks that formed in sediments turned rocks. Old Soaker had two types of cracks like those filled with dust and sand, and others with minerals from ground water, like calcium sulfate veins.

Scientists are studying more to find several such sites with cracks. However, rover has left the site towards its future mission to observe and drill the rock. Rover had issues in its drill which now engineers are trying to fix.

This story may contain affiliate links.

Comments

The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.

 

 

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus