What simply occurred? NASA has shared photos lately captured by Curiosity because the rover travels from a clay-rich area on Mars to 1 primarily comprised of a salty mineral generally known as sulfate. The area company selected these two areas in hopes of studying extra concerning the planet’s watery previous however because it seems, the transition space between them is proving to be fairly enlightening.
The picture above is a mosaic comprised of six photos captured by Curiosity’s mast digital camera on June 2, 2022. It’s believed that the flaky rock layers depicted within the picture fashioned in an historic pond or streambed.
Curiosity has been making its means up the foothills of a three-mile-high mountain generally known as Mount Sharp since 2014. On the base is the clay-rich space, which doubtless was as soon as residence to flowing streams and lakes. Increased up within the transition zone, observations counsel the streams dissipated into trickles. Ultimately, sand dunes fashioned above the lake sediments.
“We now not see the lake deposits that we noticed for years decrease on Mount Sharp,” mentioned Ashwin Vasavada, a Curiosity venture scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “As an alternative, we see a number of proof of drier climates, like dry dunes that often had streams working round them. That is an enormous change from the lakes that persevered for maybe thousands and thousands of years earlier than.”
NASA mentioned the rover will quickly drill its last pattern within the transition area to get a greater have a look at the altering mineral composition of the rocks.
Curiosity touched down on Mars means again in August 2012 and has been finding out the Crimson Planet’s local weather and geology ever since. Unsurprisingly, the rover is beginning to present indicators of wear and tear after almost a decade of operation. Considered one of its aluminum wheels has misplaced a number of of its treads, however that does not appear to be a serious concern.
“We have now confirmed by floor testing that we will safely drive on the wheel rims if vital,” mentioned Megan Lin, Curiosity’s venture supervisor at JPL.