Τρίτη, 25 Αυγούστου 2015

Curiosity discovers huge water deposit on Mars


NASA has found a massive underground water deposit on Mars, a discovery which suggest life once occupied the barren planet.


The Curiosity Rover drilled deep into the so-called Buckskin Rock in the Marias Pass region and found something remarkable buried beneath.

Using its Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) tool, which looks for the hydrogen of water molecules, it detected evidence of a huge amount of water just beneath the surface.

"The ground about one meter beneath the rover in this area holds three or four times as much water as the ground anywhere else Curiosity has driven during its three years on Mars," said DAN Principal Investigator Igor Mitrofanov from Space Research Institute in Moscow.


This NASA image released August 9, 2012 shows first 360-degree panorama in color of the Gale Crater landing site taken by NASA's Curiosity rover on August 8, 2012

Curiosity performed its latest experiment after suffering a short circuit as it drilled.

"We were pleased to see no repeat of the short circuit during the Buckskin drilling and sample transfer," said Steven Lee, deputy project manager for Curiosity at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

"It could come back, but we have made changes in fault protection to continue safely drilling even in the presence of small shorts."

The Rover has now been on Mars for three Earth years and is currently in a deep bowl near the equator called Gale Crater.

In the middle of the depression is a huge mountain dubbed Mount Sharp, and Curiosity is currently climbing through its foothills.


A blue sunset on Mars seen from the Curiosity Rover

According the latest results, billions of years ago the crater was filled with water.

The conditions back then could have allowed microbial life to flourish - if it ever existed on Mars.

The Rover will now attempt to dig at the foot of Mount Sharp in the hope of finding evidence of conditions which could have caused life to flourish.

"The main mission objective now is to examine layers of lower Mount Sharp for ancient habitable environments and evidence about how early Mars environments evolved from wetter to drier conditions," NASA wrote.

Source: mirror.co.uk

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