Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mars curiosity rover provides strong evidence for flowing water

31.05.2013
Rocks analyzed by NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover team, including Linda Kah, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, provide solid evidence that Mars had rivers or streams

Despite satellite images that show vast networks of channels, past Mars rover missions have shown limited evidence for flowing water on Mars.


Multiple outcroppings of rocks like this one (termed a pebble conglomerate) were observed along the first 275 meters traversed by the rover with the high-resolution Mastcam.

Credit: NASA

Now, rocks analyzed by NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover team, including Linda Kah, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, provide solid evidence that Mars had rivers or streams. This suggests that the environment was drastically different than today's cold and dry conditions, with the potential to support life.

A paper on the team's findings is published in this week's edition of Science.

Since its landing last August, the Curiosity Rover has been looking for clues to whether the Martian surface has ever had environments capable of sustaining, or potentially evolving, life. Critical evidence may include hydrated minerals or water-bearing minerals, organic compounds or other chemical ingredients related to life.

Scientists of the Mars Science Laboratory mission used images collected from the rover's MastCam, which includes two high-resolution cameras mounted onto its mast. The cameras take full-color images and have filters that can isolate wavelengths of light that provide information about minerals present on the planet's surface.

As the rover moved from its landing site to its current location in "Yellowknife Bay," the cameras captured images of large rock formations composed of many rounded pebbles cemented into beds several centimeters thick. While such deposits are very common on Earth, the presence of these types of rocks on Mars has great significance for the Red Planet.

"These (rock formations) point to a past on Mars that was warmer, and wet enough to allow water to flow for many kilometers across the surface of Mars," said Kah, who helped work the cameras.

The clasts, or pebbles within the rock formation, appear to have been rounded by erosion while carried through water, such as in a stream or river. The size and orientation of the pebbles suggest they may have been carried by one or more shallow, fast-moving streams.

Using published abrasion rates and taking into consideration reduced gravity, the scientists estimate the pebbles were moved at least a few kilometers. Analyzing the grain size distribution and similar rock formations, the scientists believe the river was less than a meter deep and the water's average velocity was 0.2 to 0.75 meters per second.

"These rocks provide a record of past conditions at the site that contrasts with the modern Martian environment, whose atmospheric conditions make liquid water unstable," said Kah. "Finding ancient river deposits indicates sustained liquid water flows across the landscape, and raises prospects of once habitable conditions."

The mission will not conclude until at least 2014. For more information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl.

Whitney Heins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utk.edu
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target
22.05.2018 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH

nachricht Monitoring lava lake levels in Congo volcano
16.05.2018 | Seismological Society of America

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>