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 referred to 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 shaped in an historic pond or streambed.
Curiosity has been making its means up the foothills of a three-mile-high mountain referred to as Mount Sharp since 2014. On the base is the clay-rich space, which possible was as soon as residence to flowing streams and lakes. Greater up within the transition zone, observations counsel the streams dissipated into trickles. Ultimately, sand dunes shaped above the lake sediments.
“We not see the lake deposits that we noticed for years decrease on Mount Sharp,” mentioned Ashwin Vasavada, a Curiosity undertaking scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “As an alternative, we see a lot of proof of drier climates, like dry dunes that often had streams operating round them. That is a giant change from the lakes that persevered for maybe hundreds of thousands of years earlier than.”
(This picture was captured on Might 19, 2022, by Curiosity’s mast digital camera)
NASA mentioned the rover will quickly drill its closing 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 Purple 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. One in all its aluminum wheels has misplaced a number of of its treads, however that does not appear to be a significant concern.
“We have now confirmed by way of floor testing that we are able to safely drive on the wheel rims if obligatory,” mentioned Megan Lin, Curiosity’s undertaking supervisor at JPL.