On Wednesday, NASA released a series of images showing perspectives from the rover’s recent trip. It has been advancing along the base of Mount Sharp, a massive central mountain in the crater. Curiosity is seeking to better understand how water on Mars works and whether the planet might have been habitable for microbial life at some point in the past.
The transition zone lies between two zones known as the clay-bearing unit and the sulfate-bearing unit, a tribute to the different kinds of minerals found in each zone. NASA described the area as “scientifically fascinating” and said it “may provide a record of a major shift in Mars’ climate billions of years ago that scientists are just beginning to understand.”
These clay minerals can be traced back to lakes and streams long ago. Now, with Curiosity higher up at the foot of Mount Sharp, the landscape is changing.
Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity project scientist, said: “We no longer see the lake sediments that we have seen under Mount Sharp for years. Instead, we see a lot of evidence of a dry climate, such as dry sand dunes with occasional streams around them. They. That’s a big change from previous lakes that may have lasted for millions of years.”
This is a geological “feast” for the region. The space agency said the hills in the area may have formed from sand dunes hardened into rock. The rover found “layered, flaky” rocks that looked like a pile of broken wafers. These fascinating formations may have formed due to the action of water in ancient riverbeds or ponds. Researchers will be busy with the rover’s latest observations.
“Adding to the richness and complexity of the story is the fact that we know that there are multiple periods of groundwater that ebb and flow over time, leaving Curiosity scientists with disjointed puzzle pieces to assemble into an accurate one,” NASA said. timeline.”
The Curiosity rover is approaching its 10th anniversary of reaching Mars. This “longevity” also presents some challenges. Curiosity went into protective safety mode on June 7 due to temperature readings inside the rover, but it started working again two days later. Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are still investigating the issue, the report said. Also, the aluminum wheels were fairly worn, but were still working, getting the rover through rocky ground.