NASA released a statement over the recent discoveries by its Mars rover, ‘Curiosity’. From the insights and the area scoped by Curiosity, NASA has confirmed the possibility of previously existing water channels on the red planet’s surface.
The rover also managed to understand the composition of the Martian atmosphere by analyzing it for the presence of xenon, which is a noble gas. Although, initially the rover had been planned to analyze the upper surfaces of the Martian atmosphere in order to determine the extent of loss of gas, water and carbon dioxide, the accidental discoveries of watery veins on the neighboring planet’s surface have sparked off a renewed interest in the possibility of life on Mars.
It happened when the rover discovered duo-tone deposits at a spot called the Garden City, which is located in a basal layer of the Martian mountain, Mount Sharp, which is a 3 mile high rocky edifice. It is part of the Pahrump Hills that are together located in the Gale Crater. On this layer, the duo-tone mineral trails were well formed because of deposits left behind in between the cracks of the basal layer. Such trails are formed when water flows through paths and leaves sediments behind.
Sticking out of the rock’s surfaces and up to a height of 6 inches, these watery veins are structured as mineral ridges that resemble an ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ form. The duo-tone deposits lined inside gave it the white resemblance in the middle while the mineral deposits were surrounded by darker material on either side.
These findings add to a slowly increasing bank of evidence that concretize NASA scientists’ suspicions of past habitability of the red planet. A simultaneous study of the atmospheric composition will also reveal the historical progression and development of the Martian atmosphere. Scientists are expected to gain insights from the way the composition of noble gases and carbon dioxide was effected over a period of time.
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