Curiosity Rover by NASA Has Discovered Complex Martian Rock

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 10, 2019

This mosaic of images shows layers of ancient sediment on a boulder-sized rock called "Strathdon", as seen by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the end of the robotic arm on NASA's Curiosity rover. Its discovery suggests the world being explored by the NASA rover is more geologically advanced than is usually appreciated.

Curiosity is now halfway through a region scientists call the "clay-bearing unit" on the side of Mount Sharp, inside of Gale Crater. More recently, it took detailed images of "Strathdon", a rock made of dozens of sediment layers that have hardened into a brittle, wavy heap. These features, in accordance with NASA, point to the presence of a dynamic environment, by which wind or flowing water-or possibly both-imbued this Martian region with its distinctive geological features. "We're seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks", said campaign's other co-lead, Valerie Kristen Fox of Caltech. "It was not just a static lake". It is helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. "Instead of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated". The images were taken on July 10, 2019, the 2,462nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

The boulder-sized "Strathdon", as imaged by Curiosity's Mastcam.

Rock formed from layers of sedimentary rocks.

A close-up view of Strathdon.

A few weeks earlier, while Curiosity was exploring a region within the clay-bearing unit, the rover stopped to take a 360-degree panorama as it stood next to a rocky outcrop named Teal Ridge. The image was taken on 18 June and was also colour corrected to show the scene under Earth-like lighting conditions.

Scientists anticipate that there are still incredible things that are yet to discover, and with the nuclear power system, Curiosity is still anticipated for more discoveries on the Red Planet.

It has been seven years that NASA Curiosity has landed over Mars, and since then it has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 km) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location.

NASA has several missions planned to investigate the mysteries of Mars, and including a plan to send a new rover to the surface in 2020.

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