Curiosity Rover Data Indicates Gale Crater Mountain Used to be a Lake
This evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover on Aug. 7, 2014, shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit not far from where flowing water entered a lake. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.
What is now a mountain, was once a lake. That’s the conclusion of the Curiosity Mars rover science team after studying data and imagery from the rover, which indicates that the mountain the rover is now climbing in Gale Crater – Aeolis Mons, or Mount Sharp — was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.
“Gale Crater had a large lake at the bottom — perhaps even a series of lakes,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program during a press briefing on Monday, “that may have been big enough to last millions of years.”
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