Mars Crater Once Held A Massive Lake, New Curiosity Data Suggest
Ancient Mars may have been much wetter than scientists thought.
New data from NASA’s Curiosity rover indicate the red planet’s Gale Crater once contained a massive lake–and that Mount Sharp, the mountain at the center of the 96-mile-wide crater, formed from the build-up of sediment over tens of millions of years.
The new finding suggests that large, long-lasting lakes once dotted the Martian landscape, raising the possibility that the planet was once habitable.
“The size of the lake in Gale Crater and the length of time and series that water was showing up implies that there may have been sufficient time for life to get going and thrive,” NASA’s Mars Exploration Program scientist Dr. Michael Meyer told Reuters.
Curiosity collected the new data on its five-mile drive to Mount Sharp, the prime destination on its mission to study Mars’ climate and geography. The rover landed in Gale Crater in August 2012.
In March, scientists discovered that the crater contained beds of sandstone that were tilted south toward Mount Sharp. They believed these rocks were deposited by streams that fed into a larger body of water in the center of the crater.
After reaching Mount Sharp in September, the <a target="_blank" —> Read More Here